how to “winter up” after the thrill is gone

After some rainy December days and some beautiful 70 degree January weekends, we’re finally experiencing some truly cold weather here in Tennessee. I have yet to see any snow hit the ground, but that doesn’t discount the frigidity of the winds this morning and the frozen water in the goat trough. When I got in my car, it read 25. That’s serious news for us, folks.

i call this my Wild Winter Beast

It wasn’t long after Christmas morning that I began feeling sad about the holidays being over. We spend so much time preparing for one day, and then once it’s done, the decorations come down, the music stops playing, and the thrill is gone.

I held onto my decorations until January 8th, which was actually the first spot of free time I had to actually center my mind enough to dig out the plastic totes and get things put away. But it wasn’t as sad as I thought it would be. The decorations themselves had begun to feel depressed, like they were clinging to something that just wasn’t realistic anymore. They were being taken over by clutter and dishes and other new additions that made their presence unseemly. And so, while I held onto a few items that can still instill a warm and cozy winter vibration for our home, the reindeer, the trees, the ornaments, and the snow globes all said goodbye until next time.

Which got me to wondering – now what?

Since moving out to the country, I’ve developed a new relationship with Winter. My winter is no longer a time for “winter whites,” high heeled booties, or giant fashion scarves. It’s a time for mud, for trials, and for relaxing by a fire when it’s all said and done. This shift has helped me appreciate this season for more than the holidays it possesses and the potential snow days it might cause. And I think that’s worth sharing.

So if you’re struggling with the winter duldrums, here are some of the things I’m choosing to look forward to (P.S. they’re free and easy):

  1. Period Films. There’s nothing like lighting some candles, cuddling up on the couch, and watching Anna Karenina. Or maybe Pride & Prejudice. Howard’s End is quite nice (and sad), too. Choose your drug, but I find it’s easier to appreciate women wearing layers upon layers of clothing when it’s freezing outside. Plus, the accents are very comforting.
  2. World Music. Last winter, Webb & I found ourselves throwing on NPR Tiny Desk and KEXP Studio Sessions on YouTube. While we might have started with Chris Stapleton and Brandi Carlile, we eventually got more curious and began hearing groups with names like Dhaka Brahka and Huun Huur Tu. There’s something about fresh discovery in a time when everything is beginning to feel dull and lifeless – especially when you don’t even have the pressure of having to understand the words. Just feel the rhythms and the emotions and let it shape your mood. It works, trust me. Plus, those Dhaka Brahka girls are BAD.ASS. They rap in Ukrainian.
  3. Baths. Need I say more? Crank that baby as hot as it will go and you’ll be all kinds of cozy for as long as you want. Just make sure you’ve got bubbles.
  4. Working by the Fire. So…..we don’t have HVAC in our house. In the winter, we’re completely dependent on a good fire in the wood stove and a couple space heaters downstairs. And believe it or not, the warmth is much more appreciated when you’ve had to make it yourself. We’re lucky to lead a very peaceful existence out in our little cabin in the country, but having a fire just makes it better. My goal this winter is to plop myself right next to it when I need to zone out and read or write. Which brings me to –
  5. Red Wine. I’ve been loving a glass of Malbec on a cold night. It’s a great companion for writing, as well.
  6. Creating Winter Decor. According to Pinterest, “Winterizing” is a thing. I’m learning how to make Pom Poms and plotting out some handcrafted felted wool Valentines to hand out to friends. Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean the love (or the sparkle) has to end.
  7. Walks in the Park. Would you rather be hot and sweaty or cold and warming up? The latter isn’t too bad. I’m hoping we can see some real snowfall and enjoy that, too.
  8. Cooking & Baking. When it’s cold out, I have full permission to cook all the carbs. I’ve been liking recipes on Instagram like a madwoman these last couple weeks and I’m looking forward to building some pasta and veggie bowls, as well as an eggnog cake.
  9. Cozy Sweaters. The longer it stays cold out, the more I get to enjoy the snuggly softness of some of my favorite clothing items.
  10. Time to Get Organized. This is kinda nerdy, and it probably feels like a desperate grasp for a 10th item on the list, but there’s something kind of nice about being stuck inside when it gets dark early or it’s just too cold to enjoy any outside time. I’m doing my best to make use of these extra hours, mostly so I don’t get sucked into Netflix for more than 3 hours at a time. So I’m KonMari Methoding my closet and the piles that have accumulated around the house. I’m organizing my craft supplies and my journals in a way that gives me peace of mind. I’m seeking new ways to effectively and attractively decorate our house while still getting to keep all the “junk” I love. And it’s fun. It gives you a rush. I did this the other night before bed and I almost couldn’t relax enough to get some sleep. But hey, worth it, right?

I hope this list gave you some new ideas to get through these next couple of months. Come Spring, we’ll have a whole new list of things to get excited about, so why not embrace the cold right now while we can? Good things can come of it, I promise you.