Autumn. It’s a beautiful time of the year. Trees are changing from green to jewel-toned. Gourds and straw start popping up as decorations. The air gets cooler, and suddenly everyone is wearing boots and sweaters.
But underneath the beauty of autumn is a feeling that it’s time to prepare for winter.
I struggle with winter. I think it’s a combination of the short days and the colder temperatures. Maybe it also has something to do with my four kids who need gloves and boots and warm coats every time they leave the house.
So while I’m excited about cooler weather now that it’s fall, I’m already preparing for winter.
There are a lot of ways to physically prepare for winter (find the warm quilts, see if the kids still fit their winter gear, have the furnace tuned up, etc.), but today I want to focus on how to emotionally prepare for winter. Over the years I’ve come up with several things that help me survive the dark, cold days of winter. I want to share some of them with you.
- Invest in something cozy. Whether it’s socks or a really soft scarf, I like having something that makes winter more comfortable. Last year each of my kids received plush blankets for Christmas because they were all stealing my soft blanket.
- Stock up on puzzles. My family got really into puzzles during the first Covid shut down in 2020. Last winter, we tried out some new puzzles and found that they are a really fun activity for cold afternoons. Even simple 100 piece puzzles from the dollar store were enough to keep the boredom away.
- Have a list of books you want to read. I am always reading, but during the winter I feel like I can really indulge my reading habit. I reserved a lot of books from the library and last winter, two huge books were available at the same time. I finished them both in three weeks. I also like to read a book out loud to my kids in the hour before bedtime. There’s something so nice about reading books under the light of a good lamp while it’s dark outside.
- Plant bulbs. Fall is the time to plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring. Every spring I’m so excited to see the little points from the bulbs pushing out of the ground. These are some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring and they can handle frosts and snowstorms. After a long, grey winter, it is so refreshing to see new life growing. I’ve grown tulips at my house for the last two years. This year I plan to add crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths.
- Buy an Amaryllis bulb at Christmas. Yes, this is another tip involving flowers. In December, you will see Amaryllis growing kits on endcaps at every store. The kits are less than $10 and come with everything you need to grow an Amaryllis flower in a pot. I try to buy one of these every year. I call them “January Insurance.” When all the magic of the holidays has faded away, and January feels long and dreary, I can always count on feeling joy while I watch my Amaryllis grow.
- Invest in a sled. What is the point of snow if you can’t enjoy it? We try to go sledding as a family at least once every winter. My family started out with one sled and have gradually added one or two every year. Last year I claimed we’d reached “peak parenting” because every member of the family had a sled.
- Plan a visit to a hot spring. When winter gets cold and snowy it feels rebellious to wear a bathing suit and sit outside in hot water. We are so lucky that Idaho has several awesome hot springs. When my family lived in Pocatello we made it a New Year tradition to visit Lava Hot Springs during the first week of each new year. We’ve continued that tradition in Twin Falls with 1000 Springs Resort and Miracle Hot Springs.