How to Celebrate Winter and the Holidays in State College

Photo from statecollege.com

The holiday season is here in State College. The holiday season brings in nostalgia, excitement and fun activities whether you choose to stay at home or go out. Although the weather outside is frightful, there is still plenty to do to welcome winter and celebrate the holidays before or during winter break.

Ice Skating at the Pegula Ice Arena
PENN STATE PEGULA ICE ARENA | MG McGrath Inc. Sheet Metal
Photo from Mgmcgrath.com

Ice skating is not only a fun activity to do with your friends, family or partner but also a great workout. The Pegula Ice Arena located on campus at 250 University Dr. offers public skating times on Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with skate rentals for $4. Although your muscles will be working, it’s best to bundle up with a coat, hat, gloves and maybe your favorite ugly holiday sweater to stay warm on the ice.

Build Gingerbread Houses
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On snowy days, it’s best to stay inside and off the roads. Building a gingerbread house is a great way to beat the snow day boredom and celebrate the holidays. You can buy gingerbread house kits at Target or Walmart in State College. Get ready to be creative with gumdrops, icing, chocolate and any other candy of your choice. Try a gingerbread house building competition with your friends or roommates, or make your building a collaborative project. Create a poll on Instagram to see whose house is the best, or judge them yourselves! If you enjoy baking, try making some matching gingerbread people to adorn the outside of your house. This activity will bring in some holiday cheer and make your home smell like delicious gingerbread.

Skiing or Snowboarding at Tussey Mountain
Lift Tickets and Rentals — TusseyMountain
Photo from Tusseymountain.com

The winter season means something for many people: the start of skiing and snowboarding season! If you are looking for athletic winter sports close to school, check out Tussey Mountain. Tussey Mountain offers various ski routes with beginner and progressively more difficult challenges, private or group lessons and more. As temperatures drop and skiing becomes more popular, Penn State offers a bus from campus to Tussey Mountain.

Watch Holiday Movies
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On a cold winter night, there is nothing quite like cuddling up in your pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate and watching a few holiday movies. Enjoy your holiday movies alone as a self-care night, or invite some close friends over to watch holiday movies together. Childhood favorites like “The Polar Express,” “Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “Home Alone” can cultivate that nostalgic holiday feeling. However, you can also opt for adult comedy classics like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” or “Elf.” Choose a few of your personal favorites to watch this holiday season.

Play a Game of Dreidel
10 banknote on brown wooden table
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A dreidel is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. When Jewish people were under control of the Greeks, Jewish students had to study in secret. Greek soldiers would come to check on them to make sure they were not studying Judaism, so the students would put away their Torah learning and spin tops. Today, spinning dreidels for real money or more often chocolate coins called gelt is a Chanukah tradition for many Jewish families. Dreidels are easy to learn how to spin, and the loved game can learn how to be played here.

First Night in State College
Photo from Happyvalley.com

On New Year’s Eve, State College will be holding its First Night Festival. There will be activities like ice skating, a 5K run and visits from real reindeer. Furthermore, there will be various shows and performances by groups from all over Centre County. Check out the performance schedule online to plan out your night.

Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, with your favorite holiday tradition and activity!

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