How to Turn Your COVID Winter Break into an Exciting Staycation


Quote the Raven: C.s.M.


With half the semester under our belt, we’re just a week away from Winter Break! While COVID may have put a damper on any plans to go out and enjoy the city, not all is lost! Allow me to share with you several fun ideas to add a little flavour to your COVID Winter Break and turn it into an exciting staycation!

Virtual Winterlude Activities

Every year in February, Ottawa hosts the Winterlude festival to showcase Canadian heritage through music, ice sculpture displays, shows, and activities. This year, you can participate in the celebration virtually! There are tons of workshops and master classes to take part in, including Powwow workout classes, Hockey History trivia games, Chinese dumpling folding for the Lunar New Year and many arts and crafts activities. You’ll also find a long list of virtual shows, museum tours, and podcasts to enjoy. Be sure to check out the full list of activities to find one that interests you!

Paint Me Like One of Your Overworked University Students

Since my schedule is usually packed with academic responsibilities and other priorities, there hardly seems to be enough time to indulge in my hobbies; something I’m sure many people can relate to. If you’re like me and love letting your creative side run wild every chance you get, you might enjoy having an art night. Art nights have always been one of my favourite ways to disconnect from the stress and the go-go-go of everyday life. They’re rejuvenating, therapeutic, and simply put – fun!

Put on a nice playlist, grab some paint, clay (my personal favourite), or whatever materials you’d like to use; maybe put out some snacks, or a fancy drink if you’re feeling extra festive. This is a great way to spend some time with your roommates or family, or simply enjoy your own company! For those who may have artist’s block, a fun tip I have is to write a bunch of wacky ideas or concepts on paper and throw them into a cup; whatever you pull, you have to try and create (kind of like an artistic game of charades or Pictionary)!

Did Somebody Say “Pillow Fight”?

When you were a kid, did you ever make a pillow fort and spent the afternoon or evening reading or playing games in it? (I did – a lot.) Why not recreate that childhood experience? All you need are some pillows, blankets, maybe a mattress and some creativity. Throw in some string lights if you want, and you have yourself an Instagrammable evening. You can cozy up and watch some movies, read that book you’ve been meaning to start or maybe throw on a face mask and some music. This is your safe haven!

Time to Break Out that Dusty Apron

Another one of my passions is the culinary arts. Whether you’re an expert in the kitchen or somehow manage to burn microwave popcorn (guilty), reading week is a great time to try out some new recipes! You can find all kinds of tutorials and recipes on YouTube, but I’ll share three channels that you should definitely check out.

  • From basic dishes to food from fiction, ‘Binging With Babish’ has it all. He’s a hilarious and talented culinary creator with a plethora of recipes for you to explore.
  • For all my vegan friends out there, I recommend you check out ‘Pick Up Limes’. She has lots of great content on how to prepare budget-friendly vegan meals that look aesthetically pleasing and keep your body healthy and full!
  • Finally, if you like comfort food, desserts and cats, I suggest you check out ‘Nino’s Home’. Filmed in ASMR-style, he offers great step by step tutorials on creating absolutely mouth-watering treats!

While we may be stuck inside, the CUSA Food Centre has a world of cuisine for us to explore in celebration of International Food Month! Be sure to check out their Instagram page for cooking tutorials and recipes from around the globe!

You can take your culinary adventure a step further by organizing a fun virtual cooking competition with your friends over Zoom! Pick a recipe for everyone to follow and set the timer. Regardless of who wins, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with a good laugh.

I hope these ideas give you a spark of inspiration for the many ways you can spend your reading week. Good luck to everyone writing midterms and have yourself a great staycation!

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