Simple Pleasures: A Cozy Home in Cold Weather
There is a certain squirrel-like pleasure in stocking up for cold weather — and potential power outages — from the regular essentials, like flashlights and warm socks, to the fun essentials, like bottles of wine and new board games. Knowing you have all you could possibly want tucked tidily away is a wonderful way to kick off a season of coziness.
If you have a woodstove or fireplace, stocking up on good, dry wood is essential before winter really kicks in.
Although wood does look inviting all stacked up, it’s probably best to store the bulk of it outdoors to prevent little critters from entering your home. A covered porch can be a good transitional space for keeping a wood pile, and a neat stack of wood is a cozy thing to look at as you enter the home on blustery days.
Muck Boots and Barn Coats
Sure, we all have our nice boots and coats for going out, but it’s so handy to have a selection of sturdy muck boots and waxed coats to toss on when you need to take care of a quick outdoor chore.
And there is something so charmingly British countryside about their being all lined up by the back door
Piles of books provide an open invitation to toss out your plans and read all afternoon in the snug house instead. Here’s a tip for those of you, like me, who are attempting to pare down a book collection rather than accumulate more tomes: Visit your library or its website and check out an stack of fascinating books. I love being able to borrow big art and design books, literature, cookbooks and whatever else I am in the mood for. When you’re done, just return them and select another set.
If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, it feels good to know you have some of your favorite varieties in reserve when the snow is flying.
Just looking at a nice collection of wine in the cupboard or on the wine rack is comforting — if unexpected guests drop in, or you’re stuck in a storm and can’t use the car, you can rest assured there will be a good bottle to share.
Cozy Things in the Kitchen
Tea. Hot cocoa. Casseroles and soups in the freezer. A pantry filled with delectable goodies. Whether you are coming in from shoveling snow or a day running errands, there is something about winter that increases the appetite, so be sure to keep your kitchen well stocked!
You’ll want both the ambient and emergency variety — although really, is there much difference? In a power outage, I find that large pillar candles (the type that often come in lanterns and hurricanes) give off the most light, and they also look lovely on a regular evening. Whatever type you prefer, having a drawer full of extras on hand will ensure that you’ll never be stuck in the dark. As always, don’t leave candles unattended.
Cozy Bedding and Toasty Throws
Fresh, new bedding is an instant pick-me-up for lagging spirits in winter. Think layers of warm coziness — flannel sheets, wool blankets and thick duvets. And having an assortment of luxuriously soft throws is a must. On cold days there’s nothing better than toting one around from room to room (along with a mug of hot tea, of course) to warm your shoulders or toes.
We all deserve warm new socks at the beginning of winter, don’t we? Plush, thick socks can stand in for slippers and make boots more comfortable, and they look far nicer in your drawer than regular ones. Try some in cashmere or washable wool.
Aromatic Bath Oils
Even if you usually shower, an aromatic bath is a treat worth making time for in winter. Pick out several wonderful bath oils as enticement. While you’re at it, add a wooden sauna-inspired bath mat and a tray or stool for holding your book or tea while you soak.
Board Games, Puzzles and Other Playthings
Snow days call for old-school amusements. That said, you don’t need to stick with Monopoly and cards — pick out a stack of new games and puzzles to add to the collection. If you play an instrument, treat yourself to some new music to practice on long winter evenings.
Oh, if only! Whenever I read the classic children’s tale Frederick to my son in winter when he was smaller, I wished that I too, like the little mouse in the story, could soak up the sun and vibrant colors of the other seasons, and access it when I needed it most.