Thursday, January 22, 2015

January is for Home

There is something I love about January, despite the darkness and the cold weather. I love that it is, ideally, a month for being at home. Everyone is worn out from Christmas, the days are short, and no one wants to go anywhere. The weather might even cause an enforced stay at home. Yes! This is just what I want.

I want a place to rest and rejuvenate for the year that will only get busier and busier from here on out. I want a private hibernation filled with hot drinks, piles of inviting books, a fire in the fireplace, and some knitting by my side. I actually want winter.

Of course my hopes are always higher than my realizations, especially as my kids get older and their lives require more running around. And this year the weather is not cooperating! Fifty-two degrees Fahrenheit this week! What is going on? I need my snowed-in-for-a-week weather.

Here are some of the ways I love to celebrate "home" in the winter:

Hot Drinks -- Of course there is tea, but there is also coffee, hot chocolate, spiced cider, and, no doubt, all sorts of other concoctions you could discover and make. Part of the fun is how these are taken -- on a tea tray with china or a fun tea cozy, by the fireside, how about out of doors? You can add some excitement to your winter by finding a few new drinks to enjoy.

Home -- I recently read Charlotte Moss' "Winter House" in which she advocates adding a few decorating touches to your home just for winter -- turning it into a sort of retreat. Of course she had the privilege of actually buying and creating a winter house just for winter. Nevertheless, she realizes not all of us can do that. But, we all can give our homes a little attention, bringing out cozy blankets, adding a candle here and there, rearranging furniture to suit a more cozy atmosphere. Here are some decorating books to consider:

Winter House -- I admit that Moss' choice of colors and decorations were not all my style. But, I still loved this book. Perhaps it's because books are an instant vacation for me and while I was reading this I was miles away in Moss' Aspen house reaping the benefits of a winter retreat without having to pay for one myself.

  Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature by Lisa Giramonti is the book I am in the middle of now. Oh this is right up my alley (or shall we say "cottage lane"). Novel Interiors is a decorating book arranged around our favorite novels with chapters such as "Shall I Put the Kettle On?" (think Dickens, Austen, Gaskell), "Remembrance of Things Past" (think Wharton, Waugh, James), and "Oh, the Glamour of It All" (think Fitzgerald, Maugham, Nichols). Giramonti includes quotes from all these novels interspersed among the lovely photographs of homes that suit the atmosphere of these books. And, there is a wonderful annotated bibliography of novels at the back (a perfect reading list!).

Dreaming -- winter is the perfect time to dream about the months and year ahead. Start a diary or journal, jot down ideas, or just muse in your head. It's time to just think and not do!!!!

Food -- winter is the time for soups, roasted vegetables, pot roasts, and hearty comfort food. I enjoy checking food books out of the library as well as finding new ideas online or in magazines.

Books -- reading is the best past-time in the winter, especially when you can spend hours sitting in a cozy stuffed chair with your feet close to a fire and plenty of tea or coffee by your side (you can probably tell I'm dreaming here). Do you have a favorite winter book? Mine would be Winter Holiday (Swallows & Amazons),  The Long Winter (Little House), and  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2).

Correspondence -- since it is harder to see people in the winter because of bad weather and poor travel conditions it makes it the perfect time to hibernate at home. And, the perfect time to write a few real letters for a change! You may have heard me mention the book quote letter exchange I participate in throughout the year. Once a month I am sent the name and address of someone around the world and I send them a little note or card with some quotes my current reads. I also get one in return from someone else. It's lots of fun and not too big of a time commitment. In case you are interested, our organizer has just put out a call for new members! Check out the blog post here.

Handwork -- and how can we forget knitting, crochet, or sewing (or whatever art form you most enjoy)? For many people, winter is the only time of the year where they get time to enjoy this hobby. I can't believe how many online groups there are for these activities (Ravelry especially), and how many people are making podcasts that you can sit and watch. There is inspiration to be found everywhere!

Now we don't want to get ourselves so busy with all these delights of winter that we defeat the purpose of resting and rejuvenating! On the other hand, for many of us, it is a necessity that we work hard to shake the winter blues that so easily stretch out their icy hands and pull us down if we aren't vigilant.

As with any season, we must set aside the things that aren't and focus our enjoyment on the things that are! Happy January to you all!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.


Pom Pom said...

Oh yes, Heather! This is wonderful. Today I posted about the Danish concept of hygge. They say that the Danes get through winter because of hygge.
I ordered an electric fireplace (red!) and I am so ready to plug it in, knit, and drink LOTS of tea and coffee!
You ARE at the stage in life where you are constantly in the car. Maybe you could create some coziness inside your family ride!

elizabeth said...

I totally agree... it's a wonderful month to be HOME!!!

Bimbimbie said...

Hi Heather, raining here today and about ten degrees cooler than it has been - we are full on summer - a hot and muggy one so today it actually is a treat to put an extra layer of clothing on and enjoy sipping a mug of hot chocolate and get my nose stuck inside a book ... may the rain and low temps continue for a few more days!

And many thanks for the plug re the snail mail exchange.

Smiles to you and make the most of your cozy days*!*

Iris said...

I agree, January is a lot better than its reputation! ;) I never used to like it that much, but these days, with the monumental effort that is Christmas with three little boys, I quite welcome the more quiet, sedate days of January - they give me time to catch up on thing, to think about the year that is past, and the year ahead. Good days... :)

Unknown said...

Lovely post! :) I enjoy baking more and definitely reading! :) I have the Novel Interiors book on hold... :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post - thoroughly enjoyed this!

Stephanie said...

I like many of these aspects of winter as well. 2.5 yr old DD stays busy playing in the house, so there's not too much sitting time for Mom. We've had more snow here in Cleveland than what my parents have reported in Nineveh. Even though we haven't had any major storms, I haven't seen the grass in weeks! (sjn821 on Rav)