Article, YouTube Video and photography by Rain San Martin
Holidays have often placed an artificial starting point for the seasons, appearing to truncate them. As soon as Christmas is over, retailers set out spring merchandise! Magazines feature an emphasis on the New Year, Valentine's Day, and spring cleaning. Yet why not focus on the season of winter which has only just begun? This is a time to embrace a quiet cozy season. We'll dive into how lights, natural rustic decor, seasonal treats, and old-fashioned letters, coupled with the practice of simplicity can bring wonderment to the season of winter.
Here in America most people take down their festive lights within a week or two after Christmas. Yet you need not celebrate Christmas to display cheerful lights. Because it is the darkest time of year, with the shortest days, there is no more relevant time to display warm outdoor and indoor lighting. Opt for classic white or pair with blue or green. Candles and oil lanterns can also be featured. A hurricane lantern may be placed on the front porch. Pillar candles on your mantle and fireplace. Votives sprinkled on table tops, grouped in a vignette with rustic decor. You may leave up your tree, removing the ornaments. Its gentle glow can brighten your spirit through January and February.
Rustic Winter Decor
took me years to develop an awareness of how to incorporate natural
elements into our home's decor. As a society we have been conditioned to
purchase everything from signs to faux flowers. I love these decorations
as much as the next person! Yet gradually throughout the years I have
learned how to take advantage of our natural surroundings to create
charming seasonal decor, just as our ancestors did in centuries past.
Pine cones can be gathered and grouped together in a bowl. Branches with wild berries may be arranged in a vase. Evergreens made into a wreath or draped on the mantle.
Winter Treats and Cozy Dishes
Peppermint flavored everything is my go-to in the winter. Peppermint Bark and Mint Brownies are two invigorating treats I've made this winter. I also stock hot chocolate, mini candy canes, marshmallows, whipped cream, and sparkling sprinkles for hot chocolate on Sundays.
One of the best ways to embrace the seasonal changes is to switch up your menu. Expect a bit of overlap. Both fall and winter have cozy vibes. I keep homemade chili at the ready. Chicken and whole grain rice soup with homemade chicken broth is another wholesome favorite. Sweet potatoes are a staple. You'll always find a batch pre-cooked in our fridge. I like to crisp them up in the oven with olive or coconut oil and a side of roasted green beans with walnuts. Alternatively, for breakfast, I may have sweet potatoes with spinach, eggs, and cheddar. Though the months are chilly I highly recommend airing out your home a couple of times per day. Especially after cooking. The fresh air will make the home smell nice while providing fresh oxygen.
Rather than mail cards for a specific holiday I write long-form letters by hand. I aim to write 1-2 per month. Decorative winter-themed letter-head and matching envelopes can be obtained from an office supply store. You can also buy wintry blank cards, with pictures of snowscapes to be used all season long. Another option is to keep high quality blank letterhead paper with similar multi-purpose envelopes. These you can customize with hand-drawn snowflakes in corners, stamps, or stickers. I just ordered a collection of "Winter Scenes" forever stamps from USPS, and look forward to using these January and February. There's a snow owl, a barn, and a red Cardinal (our National bird in Indiana), among other serene snowy scenes.
I use to take down our chimes during winter, yet now I keep them up year-round. On one of my evening brisk walks, I noticed the clanging metallic bars from neighboring homes. The ground was covered in snow creating a natural sound absorbent material. Thereby making a unique mystical sound. I also leave sleigh-bells on our front and side door handles. A cheerful tone upon each entry and exit.
You may also view the video on this topic on my YouTube channel.
Take your time and enjoy the Slow Winter.