Finding the Good in Winter

 “A man,” said he, “must have a very good opinion of himself when he asks people to leave their own fireside, and encounter such a day as this, for the sake of coming to see him. He must think himself a most agreeable fellow; I could not do such a thing. It is the greatest absurdity — Actually snowing at this moment! The folly of not allowing people to be comfortable at home, and the folly of people’s not staying comfortably at home when they can! If we were obliged to go out such an evening as this, by any call of duty or business, what a hardship we should deem it; — and here are we, probably with rather thinner clothing than usual, setting forward voluntarily, without excuse, in defiance of the voice of nature, which tells man, in every thing given to his view or his feelings, to stay at home himself, and keep all under shelter that he can; — here are we setting forward to spend five dull hours in another man’s house, with nothing to say or to hear that was not said and heard yesterday, and may not be said and heard again to-morrow. Going in dismal weather, to return probably in worse; — four horses and four servants taken out for nothing but to convey five idle, shivering creatures into colder rooms and worse company than they might have had at home.”

Mr. John Knightley, traveling on Christmas Eve to Randalls, in Emma, Jane Austen (1816)

It’s too bad that the holidays fall during the winter months, my least favorite time of year. It’s cold, it’s long–how can days that are so short make a season seem so long?!–it gets dark out early, the trees are bare, colds and flu are rampant, and traveling becomes difficult.

As I get older, however, I’m trying (very hard!) to make the inevitable winter not quite so arduous.

These things help:

  • Hot chocolate (this vegan likes hers with raw cacao powder, stevia, & soy milk)

  • Hot salted popcorn (made on the stove!)

  • Daily exercise and walking brightens my mood


  • Laughing: reading the daily Dilbert  comic app on my iPhone

  • Going home every month for a long weekend, easing my homesickness and is something to look forward to

  • Having proper warm clothing, which means trading my cotton sweaters for wool. As my fellow blogger, Irene, once quoted, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” *

How about you? If you dislike winter, how do you make it more bearable?


*I tried but could not find an original source for this quote. It has been attributed to explorers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Roald Amundsen and is also thought to be a popular Scandinavian proverb.


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10 responses to “Finding the Good in Winter

  1. Thank you for the tips! I always feel a little “flat” this time of year – getting out for a run right at sunrise helps me a lot, too (I swear, I can feel the vitamins soaking into my skin). Just knowing other people have the same struggle can feel helpful, too, since we’re all in this together…

    Leigh Anne

  2. Wonderful tips! On the West Coast we tend to have soggy winters although so far this one is cold and I for one am not accustomed to dressing appropriately! My Swedish friend always quotes that line to me about bad clothing. I try to make indoors as cozy as possible. But I don’t mind winter so much – it’s hot, sweaty summer I have an issue with. Bring on the cold weather – just let me stay inside and read by a fire!

  3. Tom

    John Rutter is a recent discovery for me. He composes and conducts the most wonderful contemporary choral music.

  4. I love your winter tips, especially since we are experiencing the Canadian winter for the first time! Learning to dress in layers is an art form in itself! Cold sunny days are such a blessing compared to the grey days, though we keep being told that we haven’t seen anything yet in terms of COLD!

  5. Great tips. Something at usually helps me is to plan trips and excursions for the coming months and vacations for spring and summer. You always need something to look forward too. December isn’t too bad with all the different “seasons of light” going on, but after that, it does get a bit dreary.

  6. December’s okay. I still get excited with every snowfall, and I use the holidays as an excuse to eat whatever and whenever I want. But then January *shudder* is the worst. I have taken to forcing myself to go outside with my kiddos, or else I will never leave the warmth of my house. Maybe I just need to say goodbye to my figure and continue the December eating habits.

  7. I love proper winters! I’m Australian so winter basically means hoodies. But in the year I lived in the UK I learned about two things: roasted chestnuts, and layers. Layers totally work.

  8. leeann_anna

    When I spent some time in Norway a few years ago, I was jovially told more than a few times by locals – “There’s no bad weather — just bad clothing”!


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