There are few mountains and hardly any trees between the Texas Panhandle and Canada, which means bone-chilling, winter cold fronts frequently slam into the area from the north. Temperatures begin to plunge in December, with average lows in the 20s. Other than burrowing under a blanket and not leaving the house, how do you stay warm? Amarillo offers a number of cozy, toasty alternatives. Here are our six favorites.
Exercise Stay still and you’ll stay cold. Get moving and the increased blood flow heats your body from the inside. Most people wait until January to join a gym, but December is as good a time as any – and the treadmills will be much less crowded, too. For the truly cold-blooded (and adventurous), we recommend the trendy Bikram yoga, more commonly known as “hot yoga.” Montage Salon & Spa offers the most authentic hot yoga experience in Amarillo, with 90-minute classes in a room heated to 105 degrees. Limbered up and exhausted, you’ll long for the winter air by the time your class ends.
Hot Stone Therapy The original residents of the High Plains – the native American tribes who survived centuries of winter before the pioneers arrived – overcame frigid nights with smooth stones warmed by the fire. Not only did these stones retain heat, but placing them on tight muscles increased circulation and decreased pain. Today, Amarillo’s best spas and massage therapists offer this ancient, relaxing treatment all year long. Indulge yourself this month with an hour-long hot stone massage for $60 at Awaken Spa (9200 Town Square Blvd.).
Drink a Hot Toddy The appeal is right there in the name. (The “Hot” part, not the “Toddy” part, which refers to a fermented sap-based drink in India.) Traditionally, hot toddies are made with whiskey, honey, hot water, and additional spices. The drink’s passionate advocates claim it soothes sore throats with the honey and warms the body with the alcohol. Regardless of whether or not you’re under the weather, a hot toddy definitely tastes delicious on a cold winter’s day. For something a little different, we recommend the unique Chai Tea Toddy mixed by Sean Anderson at Taste Dessert Bar, which blends chai-infused vodka, cinnamon-flavored simple syrup, and hot water beneath a layer of cream.
The B.A.C. It’s sticky. It’s gooey. It’s drenched in rich, melty icing. This warm, plate-sized brunch delicacy can easily feed a family of four, and it’s only available at Scratch-Made Bakery (118 SW Sixth Ave.). Not familiar with the B.A.C.? The “B” stands for big. The “C” stands for cinnamon roll. No problems there. The “A,” however, is a word for donkey that’s not always welcome in polite conversation. But never mind the name. Let’s focus on this beast of a breakfast item. It is absolutely Amarillo’s most delicious way to warm a stomach (or three or four) on a cold Saturday morning.
Sipping at Roasters Amarillo’s favorite coffee shop is the one that’s been serving quality java since the days before anyone had even heard the word cappuccino. A local fixture dating back to the early 1990s Roasters Coffee & Tea Company (roasters.biz) and its three locations are still Amarillo’s most loved place for catching up with friends or meeting outside the office. Order the C.O.D., warm up, and look around: You’re guaranteed to see someone you know.
Volunteer Can warming the heart also raise the body temperature? You can find out by helping out some of Amarillo’s most needy and vulnerable residents. The city offers plenty of places to volunteer during the Christmas season, from the Eveline Rivers Christmas Project (evelineriversproject.org) and Snack Pack 4 Kids (snackpak4kids.org) to the High Plains Food Bank’s “Together We Can” Holiday Food Drive and Kids Cafe Kitchen (hpfb.org). It may be metaphorical warmth, but giving back is what makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.