When the Christmas lights get taken down and winter becomes long, bleak, and seemingly endless, it’s time to take action. Here are 15 ways to keep warm and cozy to survive the winter with a cheery heart.
In 2017, Meik Wiking published The Little Book of Hygge, which introduced the Danish concept of coziness and convivial cheer to the Western world.
Pronounced “hoo-gah”, hygge quickly exploded and became a means for marketers to sell candles and plush blankets.
I can understand why.
Living in Canada, I’m not a stranger to long cold winters. The sun rises at 07:00 and sets by four in the afternoon, so for those folks who work 9-5, winter can be an unhappy time.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s very real and affects millions of people. We need as many ways to keep warm and cozy as we can get!
15 WAYS TO KEEP WARM AND COZY: THE VIDEO
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1. PUT UP TWINKLE LIGHTS
Starting in mid to late November, Christmas lights start going up everywhere, and gosh is it ever pretty. It’s not just Christmas cheer that bubbles up in me, it’s the sparkle that pulls me in.
When the tree gets put away though, the twinkle lights don’t need to go with it. I have a string of lights around my kitchen window that makes everything warm and inviting at night.
Washing dishes is so much more pleasant with those little lights so bright. Try strewing some lights on your bookshelves, wrapping them around a houseplant, or sticking them in a cloche.
If you’re not into twinkle lights, a Himalayan salt lamp has similar mood-enhancing effects.
2. LIGHT A CANDLE
Lighting a candle is a quick and easy way to increase the ambiance in a room.
If you’re sitting down to read a book, light a candle.
Light one up when you sit down to have breakfast in the morning or dinner at night.
If you’re like me, you have plenty of candles lying around, waiting to be lit.
By the way, watching the flame of a candle dance around is a beautiful way to get wrapped up in the present moment. Who doesn’t need more of that?
3. LAYER UP
One of the best ways to keep warm and cozy is to put on a thick pair of socks, a chunky sweater, or bundle up in a blanket.
I’ve been keeping my home cooler this year to keep the gas bills lower, and I have to say that I’m enjoying the layers. I think back to the pioneer books I read in my childhood, like the Little House series and A Pioneer Story, and how the house was freezing when they woke up. The kids kept warm at night sleeping next to their siblings and it always sounded terribly cozy to me.
While I’m quite fond of having my own bed (and a furnace), the whole point is that many of us are way too comfortable in our homes. We’re not supposed to be bare-sleeved in the dead of winter. Being cold is cozy, it gives you the opportunity to get warm. Embrace it.
4. KEEP BLANKETS AROUND
I don’t even know how many blankets I have lying around my house. For the longest time, it felt like I didn’t have any, but then one year, that’s all I seemed to be gifted. I’m not complaining. I have blankets I can offer my guests if anyone appears to be cold in my sub-room-temperature home. Whenever I start feeling chilly, a blanket isn’t far away.
5. IF YOU CAN, LIGHT A FIRE
If you have a fireplace or a wood stove, know that I’m jealous. Wood smoke is my favourite smell in the whole wide world, and I could sit in front of a fire all day with a good book and be the happiest person around.
Watching the embers glow, hearing the fire crackle and pop makes me think of simpler times. What is it about a fire that fills our hearts?
Not all of us are so lucky as to have an active hearth or a wood stove in our homes, but there are ways around this. Some folks have gas fireplaces, others have electric inserts to create the illusion of having a fireplace.
If all else fails, turn on the Fireplace channel or start streaming Netflix’s Fireplace for Your Home.
6. FIX YOURSELF A HOT DRINK
In the summer my drinks are full of ice and ready to cool. Even though hot drinks help cool you down when it’s sweltering outside, I don’t start reaching for my mug until autumn rolls around with its crisp days and nights.
It’s when I start getting cozy because that’s exactly what a hot drink can offer. Whether it’s fixing a french press in the morning or early afternoon; stirring up a round of hot cocoa, or making a pot of tea, there’s nothing quite like wrapping your cold hands around a steaming mug to help warm them up.
Feeling under the weather? These easy warm elixirs aim to soothe.
7. PLAN A GAME NIGHT
One sure way to fight off seasonal depression is to invite family or close friends into your home for a fun evening of tabletop games.
Boardgames have exploded in popularity over the last decade and the options are practically endless. If you don’t have much of a collection, some libraries offer board game rentals, and you’re bound to have a friend who’s probably more than happy to bring one or two games with them.
And let’s not forget about cards. If you have a deck of cards, you can have fun for hours as long as you know how to play a couple of games (and I’m of the opinion that everyone should know the rules to at least two card games).
Charades is another classic game, although it’s better in larger groups. Whatever it is, a game night will bring laughter (and potentially a spirit of competition) into your home.
8. MAKE POPCORN
Forget about microwave popcorn. If food is as easy as pressing a button, it’s probably not good for you.
Making a bowl of popcorn is something the family can be involved in. If you have an air popper, they’re fun for kids to watch and they’re healthier because you don’t need oil.
I’m not against making stovetop popcorn either. It’s fun to vigorously shake the kernels around until they start popping.
A number of years ago, my husband, Big Papa, gifted me with a Whirley-Pop. It’s exactly as it sounds. You whirl it around, and eventually, everything pops.
Anyhow, if you’re like me, the smell of popcorn cheers you up. Why not make it a weekly tradition during the winter months?
9. BAKE SOMETHING
Filling your home with delicious baking aromas is a sign of a cheery home.
If you have kids, try involving them in the process.
10. BRING HOME A PLANT
In my climate, the only thing that’s green outside until spring is the evergreen trees. Green is my favourite colour; it’s the colour of life and health.
I need green, so I get my fix during the winter with indoor houseplants. While houseplants aren’t ways to keep warm and cozy; they’re terrific mood boosters and they work to purify the air.
I smile when I mist my aloe and bromeliad. Gratitude pours from my heart when I water my lucky bamboo and my money tree. When I see my geraniums growing new shoots, all I see are the little clones I’m going to have for my flowerbeds come spring. It’s heartening.
11. CURL UP WITH SOME GOOD READING
This one is for the bookworms out there, and it asks for an amalgamation of some of the ways of keeping warm and cozy we’ve already reviewed. Make yourself a hot drink, light a candle, build or turn on the fire, snuggle into a blanket on your couch, and read away. If you’re a young parent, forget about curling up: it’s a pipe dream. Lock yourself in the bathroom or fall asleep in bed with your book of choice.
12. GO OUTSIDE!
There are days where I feel like I can never get warm and the last thing I want to do is venture outside. Even when I don’t want to, on goes the coat and boots!
Usually, it’s when we least want to go outside that we need the fresh air the most. Fresh air revives and refreshes. If you can, find a sunny spot and plant yourself there, absorbing all the weak sunlight you can.
Make a snowman, throw a snowball, shovel an elderly neighbour’s walkway, or, just walk. Get moving, breathe deeply and find three things you’re grateful for. When you go back inside, you can look forward to that welcome blast of warm air and beautiful rosy cheeks.
13. GATHER ROUND THE TABLE
14. HOST A SMALL POTLUCK PARTY
Food and friends, are you noticing a trend? It’s a sure way to bring about a convivial spirit. If you want to share a meal together, but don’t want to break the bank, consider a small potluck party to shake up the week. Take care of the main and assign a course to each of your guests. The more intimate the party, the cozier it is.
15. GET CRAFTY
Do you knit? Crochet? Sew? Scrapbook? Whittle wood? Sketch? Creating something with your own two hands is such a satisfying feeling and it’s a great way to pass the time. It also allows you to build a stockpile of handmade gifts for Christmas or an eventual side hustle if you’re new to the scene.
Whether it’s finishing an abandoned project or learning a brand new skill, like soap or candle making, getting crafty is a beautiful way to get through the winter months.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO KEEP WARM AND COZY?
Okay, I thought of two more: playing chess and working on jigsaw puzzles! Okay, I’m done, but what about you? What are some of your favourite ways to keep warm and cozy when it’s cold outside? I hope you’ll let me know in the comments below!
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Love and gratitude,