downtown winter

Casual downtown shoppers on a peaceful December night; photo courtesy of Leslie Male

It’s a fact, we become the most stressed during the holiday season. During the times of giving, sharing, and spending time with the family, the stress can become suffocating to the point where all your usual “holly” and “jolly” becomes replaced with “worry” and “distress”! Do not succumb to the holiday stress this year and de-stress in the unique beauty around you that Alpena has to offer! Here are our top tips for holiday survival:

  1. Take a scenic drive. Look at the country-side around Alpena; all the snow on the bare branches of the maple and oak trees. There is beauty in the black and white silhouettes, admire it and ease your mind as you watch the squirrels climb up and down the snowy branches. Take a walk as well, especially if the sun is out. It may be cold, but you will still soak up some much needed vitamin D! Note: there is no snow right now, but fingers crossed–it will come!
  2. Take a scenic drive. No, this is not repeat of #1. Take a different drive, through the city. Check out the downtown area and marvel at the beautifully decorated giant Blue Spruce Christmas tree inside of the fountain. Have you seen Santa? He’s right next door to the Christmas tree. Santa is also a great listener.
  3. The city decorates all the trees in the downtown area with pretty lights and holiday themed flag poles, giving you that cozy feeling on the inside as you sip your latte or hot chocolate from Cabin Creek’s downtown location. Watch the snow fall on the city sidewalks and forget about that fruitcake you are supposed to make for family dinner.
  4. Take a scenic drive. This is getting a little ridiculous, but this is not a repeat of #1 or #2, promise! This time we are driving through the suburbs. Check out all the elaborately decorated homes and admire all the hard work and effort these locals put into beautifying the area for the Christmas season. If you are unsure where to look to find the best lights, just ask a local!
  5. Avoid the crowds. Do not do all your shopping last minute! Procrastination is stressful, and we are trying to avoid stress this holiday season! It is important to shop locally for the most unique gifts and to stimulate the local economy, just do not do it last minute. Schedule a time or buy things here n’ there on your lunch breaks. Be casual about it. Keep your gift receipts and remember, it’s the thought that counts.
  6. Engage yourself in winter activities. Go snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, or ice skating. Doing any type of physical activity is a great outlet for your body and your mind to relieve stress, so why not do a winter themed activity? Norway Ridge trail is great for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as well as snowmobiling. Again, there is no snow at the moment, so hike the trails on foot or check out the Northern Lights Arena inside of the Aplex for indoor ice skating opportunities.

Don’t become a stress-mess this year. Relax by the fire and enjoy your company, these precious moments do not last forever. Share fond memories and laugh…laugh a lot! Take our advice and please have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!