Love it or hate it, winter is not over yet. The calendar says that spring begins on Wednesday, March 20 (at 5:58 pm Eastern Daylight Time, to be precise). The rodent weather forecaster Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow on February 2nd, so according to tradition, spring will come early. Of course, Phil’s accuracy rating is less than 40%, so you may not want to put your winter coat away quite yet. How do you plan to deal with at least 3 more weeks of winter? It all depends on your attitude.
Yes! More Winter Sports. If you skate, ski, snowshoe or curl, you are a happy person right now. Between the Polar Vortex and the massive storms we’ve seen all across the country, it has been a cold and snowy winter. Too snowy in some places, although the sheer volume of snow will extend the ski season in many mountain locations. Rejoice, winter enthusiasts! The rest of us will stay at lower altitudes or enjoy our lodge time.
Winter Carnival. When I lived in Wisconsin, I had friends who made a celebration out of winter. Every February they’d gather a group of friends for a weekend of sledding, eating, games and just hanging out. (There might have been a beer or two involved.) Starting Friday night, we’d cook, eat, and play board or card games. No TV allowed. On Saturday, we’d do the same thing, with the addition of sledding and/or ice-skating. One year they rented a rink and we unleashed our inner Wayne Gretzkys in a very slow game of ice hockey. You don’t have to go to those lengths, but what about creating your own Winter Carnival tradition? Gather your friends, turn off the phones and tablets, and start cooking. Get out the Monopoly board or revive Pictionary. If skating and sledding are not options, simply go outside for a walk or to gaze at the stars. Break the winter routine, even if it’s just for one afternoon and evening.
Hygge. Have you heard of hygge? It’s the Danish art of coziness, something we can definitely use right now. Pronounced hue-guh or hoo-gah (depending on the source), it’s not something you study or buy. It’s a way of living. The Danes know about long, cold, dark winters. In response, they developed a way to enhance their lives by acknowledging the importance of the ordinary moment. Hygge is being aware and feeling happiness when you perform tasks such as making coffee, cooking and sharing a meal with friends, or creating a cozy space. Hygge is not an artificial construct, but a natural part of life. Slow down, savor your tea, and experience life’s small pleasures. Don’t forget the cozy socks and blanket.
Hit The Refresh Button. After the excitement of the holidays, winter can seem like a long, dark passage to spring. Time to shake it up. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to refresh your home, and you don’t have to go all-in on organizing, unless you want to join the KonMari movement. Buy a new set of sheets in a fun color or print. Ditto for towels. Replace the covers on your throw pillows with something bright or patterned. House plants looking tired? Decide if they are worth pruning and repotting (think colorful glazed or plastic pots), and if not, go for a different look. Try succulents or cactus for a sculptural effect.
Plan For Spring. If you can’t stand living with winter any longer, think spring. What will make you happy when the days are longer and the weather warms up? Buy tickets for a baseball game. Look at your favorite gardening websites for new plant ideas. Choose a long weekend for a getaway and book your hotel or Airbnb. Having something to look forward to should make the cold days go faster.
Remember, it’s only about 3 weeks to spring. You can make it.