13 Reasons to Get Outside During the Holidays in 2021

Thinking about spending some time outdoors this holiday season? Hannah K. breaks down 13 reasons to bundle up and head out the door.

Two people on skis stand on a snowy hill and look out over the sunrise.

Photo by Jordan Skattum

Published on

2021 has been a strange continuation of 2020. The time has really blended together. For many people, the holidays in 2020 were not experiences they hoped for nor wish to recreate this year. Despite our global situation currently, I plan on using the 2021 winter holiday season to remind myself of what goals and ambitions I want to continue working towards and hope that next winter, we have healed our world.

Note to reader: I use the word “family” many times throughout this article. I want to highlight that family does not only mean those to who we are related. Chosen family, friends, and loved ones also fall under the definition of “family.” Celebrate with whoever makes you feel good!

1. Pandemic Safety

Reason number one to get outside over the holidays is because it is far more pandemic-safe than being indoors, especially if masks are not being worn or loved ones aren’t vaccinated. Although I highly recommend wearing masks around those you don’t live with, it is much safer to hang out without masks if you are in the High Sierra mountains (or whatever mountain range you choose) and you can breathe in all the fresh air! There is something so refreshing about crisp alpine air that makes me feel strong, clean, and ready to take on the day. Leave the city pollution behind and head to the air high above.

2. Quality Time

A group of people gather around a campfire.

Photo by Tegan Mierle

Whose love language is quality time? Getting outside over the holidays will give you and your family some quality experiences to bond over. While we all love a good family dinner, why not take it outside and cook under the stars next to your tent? Being outside gives you the perfect opportunity to get quiet with yourself, be present with the relationships around you, and reflect on how meaningful these people are to you. Struggling to wash dishes or pack your tent up are great challenges to go through with loved ones and give you some good memories and laughs for future-you to remember.

3. Starting a New Tradition

Use the holidays to get outside and start a new tradition. Again, I’m always here for a family dinner, but try shaking up that routine for something new, challenging, and exciting. Try a new trail every holiday, or take a road trip to your favorite campground. Use this time to try a new sport or get some new gear—you might find something you are passionate about and fall in love with it!

4. Exploring Local

The holidays are the perfect time to reconnect with your local trails, canyons, beaches, lakes, etc. Too often we underappreciate what is right in front of us but rather opt for foreign destinations farther away. Staying local allows us to save money and explore what we would otherwise overlook. Remember that beauty can be found all around us—even right around the corner.

5. Snow Sports

Two people ski below jagged peaks.

Photo by Curated Expert Matt Wood

Ever heard of snow sports? The holidays are a great time to break out your skis or your snowboard (just remember your warm jacket)! Bring the hot cocoa or that Irish coffee and send it! If you are a complete newbie at any winter sport, like me, I would check out the bunny hill first. But the message still stands—send it. From snowshoeing to ice-climbing to cross-country skiing, there is a world of snow/ice/cold-based activities to explore. If you are like me and afraid of cold weather, borrow some good jackets and socks and bring some blankets in the car. This year I have decided to not let the cold affect my time outdoors! Anyone else want to join the challenge?

6. Meeting New Friends

How many of you have met some life-long friends while hiking, backpacking, or camping? Getting outside over the holidays is a great way to find like-minded outdoorsy people with the same passion for adventure that you have. Is there a better story than “we met in the Rockies on Thanksgiving?” I don’t think I have heard one yet!

7. Long-Lasting Memories

“Last summer Hannah and I were backpacking through Colorado and got very lost within our first five minutes…” There is more context to that story but that is for a different time! However, these are the memories we share over our next family holidays and will remember years into the future. Tie up those boots, make your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and go make some long-lasting memories.

8. Sweater Weather

Remember last summer when you got an amazing Smartwool sweater or insulated jacket on sale and you haven’t had the chance to wear it yet because it’s been way too hot? Or is that just me? Now is the time and place, my friends. Show off that fancy sweater to your family or friends, and wait for the compliments to swarm in. Bring out the holiday sweaters that are stuffed in the back of your closet or garage, and let them shine. It’s time to break out a whole new wardrobe!

9. Mental Health

The holidays are incredibly tough on many people and bring up a lot of repressed emotions. For those dealing with mental health issues throughout the year, symptoms can worsen and increase over the winter holidays. My number one tip to help manage symptoms is to get outside and reflect! Go for a walk, read in your hammock, journal at the peak, or perhaps take a forest bath. And if that’s too much, open up the window and let some crisp winter air into your home.

10. Increased Energy

Two people in winter jackets, hats, and gloves stand on a rock overlooking Yosemite Valley with backpacks on.

Photo by Nina Luong

11. Serotonin

Amongst the abundance of health benefits that spending time outdoors produces, an increase in serotonin is my favorite. This sweet chemical reaction makes life exciting and, more often than not, makes you smile! Drinking a beer at the peak is the most serotonin-causing event of life, right?

12. Stepping Away from the Screens

Screens have a lot of control over us in modern society. I say that as I am writing from my laptop with my phone right next to me. I have to say, my favorite memories all happen when my phone doesn’t have service. Stop scrolling and looking at everyone else’s life—put your phone away and do something that makes you happy (like sleeping in a tent in the cold but cuddling with friends, so you’re still warm)! The further I am from screens, the happier and more relaxed I am. Anyone else agree?

13. Fun…Duh!

Perhaps the most obvious reason, being outside is fun!

If you need any more reasons to get outside this holiday season, reach out to an Expert here on Curated. We'll be happy to chat about all things outdoors and help you find the perfect gear in preparation for your adventures! And of course, enjoy this holiday season!

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Written By
Although I've been hiking for most of my life, I didn't start backpacking and camping until college when I joined the University Outdoors Club at my school. My first backpacking trip was ambitious, the Batona Trail in the Pinelands in New Jersey done in two days. To do that, we had to walk a maratho...

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