I know; making a statement like that at the beginning of a post titled “reasons to like winter” seems a bit contradictory. However, I’ve devised a variety of strategies to make winter more than tolerable. Here they are, in no particular order:
1) Wrapping myself in scarves and shawls. Every time I go to New York, I buy at least two faux pashminas from the street vendors. They’re about $5 apiece, which makes them a totally affordable indulgence. I have them in almost every shade. Over the years, I’ve collected a wonderful wardrobe of higher-quality wraps, too: beautiful prints, silky drapey ones, thick cashmere and woolly ones, lightweight splashes of color…they make me feel totally cozy.
2) Soup. Like they used to say in the Campbell’s commercials, “soup is good food!” It’s also a great way to use root vegetables and hearty spices, and to get vitamin-enriched foods into your diet when there’s not much fresh produce around. Today I made a big pot of potato-onion-cheddar. We’ll eat it later this week, with thick bread and maybe even some bacon sprinkled on top. I also made an herbed French lentil soup that we ate tonight with brown rice and a crusty baguette. We are warm all the way through.
3) The hot water bottle. For some reason in our house, we refer to the hot water bottle as “the pig,” partly because it’s an ugly tan color that looks like pigskin. it’s the real old-fashioned kind, made of thick rubber with a screw top. On really cold nights, The Husband fills it with the hottest water from the tap and brings it to bed to warm us up.
4) Flannel sheets. We have them for all of our beds, but we only have one set for each bed, which means that on alternate weeks, we have smooth crisp (chilly) cotton. When we change the sheets and put the fuzzy ones back on, we have a refrain: “Ohhh, the flannel.” Flannel is good.
5) Snowshoeing. I started this activity last year, when my spine condition sidelined me from skiing for the third winter in a row. Since I could use ski poles to balance myself on snowshoes, I was able to get outdoors and engage in some heavy-duty aerobic exercise without risk of further injury. I love it. Astonishingly, this winter we have had no real snowfall, so the snowshoes are still hanging on their hooks in the garage. I sure hope I can take them out soon.
6) Pajamas at dinnertime. In the summer, it feels totally lame to put on pajamas at 6:30 when it’s still light outside. In the winter, it feels completely fine to change out of work clothes and into pajamas as soon as I get home. Eating dinner in PJs, then settling into the couch for an evening is a perfect winter choice.
7) The smell of cold air. Do you know that smell? Crisp, and fresh, and clean? When The Boy comes indoors, his cheeks have that great scent. It’s irresistible. Sometimes, you need to send your favorite people outside just so you can sniff them when they come back into the house.