familyski250.jpgIt’s easy to mope once the winter winds start to howl. But you don’t have to. There are lots of ways to beat the winter blahs.

* Just do it. Hoist yourself off the couch and head to a nearby museum. It will be warm, fun and educational. Check the Web first to look for institutions that offer free admissions or other deals.

* Hit the road. Check the weather forecast first, of course, but if the skies are clear, take a day trip to that place you’ve always passed on the highway when you were too busy to stop. It doesn’t have to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, just something you have wondered about.

* Find a freebie. Don’t use the economy as an excuse not to get out there. Every state and local tourism bureau has a list of cool things to do for free.

* Book a deal. The upside of the economy is the downside of pricing for plane tickets, hotel rooms, even gasoline. Check the Internet or call your travel agent to find out how much it really would cost for a trip to somewhere warm.

*Head to a waterpark. Indoor waterparks are taking over the world –and kids couldn’t be happier. Chances are there’s one near you. A trip there is almost guaranteed to elicit an enthusiastic hug.

* Visit relatives. Great Aunt Martha might not be the life of the party, but she might be willing to host your family for a quick and cheap getaway.

*Make staying home fun. Pitch a tent in the family room, turn off the lights and stoke up the fire in the fireplace. No TV, just flashlights for  reading scary stories.

*Get outside. Just because it’s cold is no reason to stay inside. Head out to build a snowman with the kids or join them for a walk in the winter wonderland. Dress in layers so you can peel them off as the exercise heats you up from the inside.

*Break out the camera. Digital cameras were made for winter fun. Let the kids take photos of their favorite secret spots in your house, print them out and then have a race to see who can match the most photos to the right spot in the least amount of time.

*Make a plan. You may not be able to afford that dream vacation right now, but you might be able one day in the future. Start the planning now. And get the kids involved. They have dreams too, you know.