6 Ideas for Making New Outdoor Holiday Traditions
Spending the holidays outdoors is an annual tradition for a number of WTA trip reporters. And this year, we may want to take a page out of their playbooks.
The upcoming holidays — and how we plan on spending them — is on the minds of many of us right now. A lot of our tried-and-true holiday traditions may not be possible in 2020, so we're looking out for new ways to enjoy our favorite holidays ... on trail!
Spending the holidays outdoors is an annual tradition for a number of WTA trip reporters. And we want to take a page out of their playbooks this year. There are so many ways to infuse holiday cheer into your hikes, and these ideas will hopefully inspire you to get out there and start new traditions of your own.
Cook up a backcountry feast
Longtime trip reporter, Joe Hendricks, has been spending Thanksgiving on trail for years. During these (oft solo) treks, Joe packs out all the creature comforts of a typical celebration: a comfy chair, a warm jacket and some straight up delicious food. Past meals include: Cornish hen with mushrooms, escargot with a side of hasselback potatoes and gourmet turkey rolls.
Spend a night outside
A few years back, Washington Trails editor, Jessi Loerch, made a goal to backpack once a month over the course of a year. To celebrate her final trip of the year and the completion of her goal, she wanted to wake up on Christmas Eve in a tent — and she did! If you'd like to do the same, we have some recommendations for year-round backpacking trips. Or if you're not a fan of backpacking, we also have tips for how to stay cozy and warm during a winter car camping trip, too.
Bring on the holiday cheer
Don't let your favorite 'ugly' holiday sweater collect dust this year! Throw on that bad boy and take it for a hike. Better yet, you could pair it with a holiday-themed mask (might we suggest this joyous 'Santa's Beard' version?) Bring along some battery powered twinkle lights or a few ornaments and you've got yourself an excellent photo op. Just don't forget the most important part ... pack everything back out with you (we can't stress this part enough)!
If you live at a low elevation in Washington, you know how rare it is to wake up to a winter wonderland during the holidays. But thankfully, snow is never too hard to find this time of year! Head up to the mountains and create your own snowy solstice (or any holiday). The holidays are a great time to enjoy a peaceful snowshoe trip ... or to skip the hike entirely and stick to socially-distanced snowball fights and snowpeople building. Check out trip reports from years' past to find inspiration!
Document and share your adventure
During your holiday excursion, try to record a few minutes of video from the beautiful sights you see (even if it's just on your phone!). You can then share these videos with any loved ones who you are unable to meet with in person this year. Or if you prefer more hands-on art, try documenting your adventure in the form of postcard which you can later mail to your friends or family. Pack along a small set of watercolors or colored pencils during your hike and pull them out during your summit break.
Bonus! Share your expertise
Do you love planning hikes? Do you have friends and family in Washington who are looking for a new way to spend the holidays? Use your hiking know-how and build them a personal hiking plan! Use our Hike Finder Map to find hikes close to them — then use our advanced search options to account for their skill level and interests. Want to go above-and-beyond? Mail them a care package of hiking treats to accompany them on their hike.
If your take your holiday celebrations out on trail this year, share your story (and the latest conditions) in a trip report and help inspire the rest of the hiking community!