As it gets closer to the end of the semester, the many are asking one another the same question- “What are you doing over winter break?”  It’s a time for holiday celebrations, cold winter nights and finally having time to relax after a work-filled semester.

For those on a budget, there are many activities that are local and low coasting.  Winter activities in the mountains can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays and the time off without burning a hole in your pocket.

If you're looking for winter-themed activities, such as ice skating or sledding locally, there are a few local, low-cost spots:

Dell’Osso Farms offers "Holidays on the farm" where they provide different avenues of fun.  Located in Lathrop, CA, they hold seasonal theme events every year.

Starting on Dec. 16 through Jan. 6, ice skating, snow tubing and holiday light viewing will be available.  Ice skating is $12 from Mon. - Thur. and $14 Fri., Sat. and Sun.  Snow tubing cost $20.00 for 90 minutes.  Riding through the lights on the farm is open from 5 PM to 9 PM.  It costs $3.50 for a train ride and $5 for an open-air hay ride.

Another local ice skating rink is presented by R.A.M Farms Inc., offering the Turlock "Fields of Ice".  Located in on 716 N. Daubenberger Road is an ice skating rink that is open from Nov. 17 to Jan. 15th. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., offering different ranges in time to attend.  Mon. - Thur. admission is $11 and Fri., Sat., and Sun. it is $13.

If a big city is what you crave, then San Francisco is another good option for ice skating.  An outdoor rink is located in Union Square starting Nov. 1 and running through Jan. 15.

The rink hosts different themed nights throughout the next coming months including Aladdin theme on Wednesdays, Flashback Fridays on Dec. 8th and Jan. 12th, respectively, Drag Queens on Ice on Dec. 7, Silent Skate Party on Dec. 14th and a Polar Bear Skate on Jan. 1st.  Ice skating is held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and costs $18.

Another event that provides holiday spirit is the Oakland Zoo. The Zoolights event is held Dec. 1-23, 26-31 through Jan. 1.  It will be open in the evening from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and costs $10 per person.  The event will gondola rides  to see the view or the Oakland hills, and includes a laser light show and music theme light show.

For those wanting to stay closer to home, Modesto has a few different activities that are perfect for a date night or an evening with friends.

For groups, Escape Modesto is a great place to build upon your team skills and filled with an adrenaline rush to beat the clock.

They are located at 912 11th street and has three themed rooms to choose from including King Tut’s Treasure, Prison Break 2.0 and CSI: Modesto. Each room holds different clues to help you escape and it’s up to you and your team to break free. The groups are given 60 minutes to figure out the clues and the tickets are $25 per person.  Days and time range and tickets must be purchase in advance online.

Gallo for the Center of the Arts and the State Theatre offer a more intimate holiday setting.

The Gallo Center is presenting The Nutcracker Ballet by the Central West Ballet Company from Dec. 8 to 10 and Dec. 15 to 17.  Located on 1000 Street, the Fri. performances start at 7 p.m. and the Sat. and Sun. performances start at 2 p.m.  Ticket prices range from $20 up to $55 per ticket.

The State Theatre is located on 1307 J Street and hosst film showings and live events.  In December the theatre will be showing classic Christmas movies like A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, Home Alone and White Christmas.

The showings will be held between Dec. 18 to Dec. 24.  The shows are offered at 2 p.m. for $5, 5 p.m. for $5 and 7 p.m. for $8.

For students, Winter break can mean intimate family time and celebrating the holidays. For Athena Cada (senior, Criminal Justice), this winter break brings just that.

“I will be going to the Philippines to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with my family,” Cada said.

Many students plan to spend time with family and friends, like Clarissa Correa (senior, Psychology), who plans to stay local.

“I’ll be working a lot and spending time with my family,” Correa said.

Being a homebody and staying productive with working is what Alejandra Camacho (sophomore, Communications) plans to do as well.  

The season brings with it the comfort and calmness following the stresses of finals. Lacy Bizzini-Rathbun (junior, Liberal Studies), plans on taking advantage of the break to give her brain a break from studying.

“I plan on relaxing, visiting family, spending time with my boyfriend and doing homework,” she said.

There are those who plan to use the time to take trips to places during their new found free time, such as Brandon Frederick (senior, Health Promotion Kinesiology).

“Over the winter break, I plan to go snowboarding at Heavenly in Lake Tahoe and do a hike up to Mission Peak,” he said.

Jamie Storzbach (sophomore, Communications) plans to use her time for adventures and quality time with family.

“I will be going home to visit family, friends, working, cheer, ice skating and just taking little mini trips to the city and around the Bay Area,” Storzbach said.

Whatever you find yourself doing, The Signal wishes you a break filled with relaxation and that you're surrounded by people you love. Happy holidays!

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