Fun & games to the rescue


Staff Writer

The holiday season brings many joys to many people, but it can also be a time of stress or boredom.

Folks who are trying to complete their shopping or prepare for family gatherings while still going about their daily routines can begin to feel overwhelmed. Children, meanwhile, get a nice long break from school and can become restless without the demands of their studies and the company of their friends. The ever-shortening hours of daylight can combine with these other factors to create a recipe for moodiness and a case of the doldrums.

Add the pressure of having a festive gathering of family or friends who perhaps doesn’t see each other very often or have that much in common and the need for some kind of communal activity becomes apparent. But what to do?

One mainstay of the holiday season is the Christmas tree, and Feisley Tree Farm at 66565 Muller Road, Belmont, offers a complete, traditional choose-and-cut experience for the whole family to enjoy. According to Feisley’s website Scotch and white pine, Fraser fir and Colorado blue spruce trees are available along with fresh cut wreaths, swags and garlands to brighten up your holiday decor.

On weekends throughout the season the farm offers complimentary hay rides and chain saw carving demonstrations, along with concessions such as hot apple cider and cocoa, popcorn, hot dogs and cookies being served by local students in a 200-year-old barn that features a decorated 16-foot Fraser Fir for photo opportunities.

Feisley’s will supply saws, measuring poles and tree sleds for those who wish to handle the tree-cutting task themselves. Families are encouraged to take as long as they like in making the perfect selection and some memories to last a lifetime.

Meanwhile, the Memorial Ice Rink at Wheeling Park has been a beloved winter attraction since it opened in 1959. Skaters of all ages and skill levels can enjoy public skate time through February with daily and seasonal pricing available. Semi-private party spaces can also be reserved and rented in two-hour increments.

Another great physical activity that families or small groups can enjoy together through the holiday season is bowling. A bustling bowling alley provides a wholly unique sensory experience, making it a fun excursion for those suffering from cabin fever.

St. Clair Lanes in St. Clairsville suspends some league bowling during the holidays so more alleys are available for open bowling, and according to owner Gary Holubeck, families and groups have a lot of fun on the lanes.

Other area locations where families and friends can enjoy a bowling outing include Rose Bowl Lanes on Edgington Lane in Wheeling, Chestnut Lanes in Barnesville and Park Legion Lanes in Martins Ferry.

Also, in these days of smartphones and gaming consoles, people sometimes tend to forget the simple pleasure of playing board games. Throwing dice, drawing cards and moving tokens provides tactile stimulation and face-to-face interaction that engages the participants in (hopefully) friendly competition.

Classics such as Monopoly, Clue, Trouble, Twister, Jenga and Yahtzee hold up well after all these years, and newer games such as Apples to Apples can be a blast for a group and can be enjoyed by adults as well as children.

Reading classic holiday books is another great way for families to spend time together and get into the spirit of the season. If you already have a collection of these timeless tales, pick a different one each evening leading up to Christmas or start collecting them one or two or a few each year and keep them with your decorations so they become part of your family’s holiday traditions.

Depending on the circumstances you may prefer to stay home or choose to venture out into the local area, but with an open mind and a little imagination the winter blues can be cured, traditions started and memories made.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today