Whilst the Winter season may technically not start until December, it’s certainly feeling chilly out there already! Before the season’s come and gone, add these ideas to your to do list.
There are so many delicious sweet winter flavours to experiment with in the kitchen. From mince pies to gingerbread, apple crumble to chocolate orange, or mint if you prefer something lighter! Seasonal baking is a perfect activity for the whole family, and a lovely tradition to add. My Grandmother is famous locally for her shortbread, so last winter I spent an afternoon with her learning to bake it. Recipes handed down really can bring back so many beautiful memories.
Go and See the Lights
When I was a child my parents used to drive us through nearby villages looking for houses decked out with lights and decorations. Usually done as a charity fundraiser, these houses still bring a smile to my face and it’s a tradition I would like to start with my family this year. Many cities and towns light up the high street, and going to the switching on event can be a magical experience for the kids.
Themed Movie Marathon
Throwing a themed watching party is a perfect activity for the family or if your kids want to invite some friends over. Making snacks that go with the theme, and wearing costumes if you’re that way inclined, is all part of the fun. If your kids don’t have the attention span for more than one film, it can also be a good idea to watch a film from a series every Saturday night together.
Eat Seasonal Meals
Eating seasonally is a great tip for not just your bank balance, but for the planet. Filling your shopping list with local fresh produce is cheaper because the produce is more abundant, and it’s not been shipped across the world. Have a look at what’s in season in your area and make meals out of these ingredients. Stews, pies, and soups with delicious root vegetables is a great place to start.
Prepare for Spring Gardening
Whilst it might not be a particularly fruitful season for the garden, winter is a great time to do prepping and planning. Pruning rose bushes and fruit trees, propagating perennials, and drawing up layouts and plans are all activities perfect for this time of year. Make sure to leave some growth whilst pruning to provide a winter habitat for wildlife, and leave out bird feeders and water baths to help visitors to your garden.
Read a Wintry Book
A morning spent in your local library or book shop is a great way to spend a chilly day! Find some wintery books, and wrap up warm in a blanket with a hot chocolate and read them. Winter is a great time to read classic children’s books like Little Women, A Christmas Carol, and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. For adults, books with winter vibes include The Shining, Carol, and Agatha Christie mysteries like Murder on the Orient Express and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas.
Learn a Cosy Craft
Whilst I personally think any time of year is ideal for crafting, winter evenings do provide a great opportunity to get cosy and take up a new hobby. Knitting and crochet are perfect winter crafts, and we have a guide to get started that you can find by clicking here! It can also be fun to make some hand sewn felt decorations, or get started with cross stitch and embroidery projects.
Christmas Jumper Day
An initiative started by Save the Children, Christmas Jumper Day is a charity fundraiser falling on the first Thursday of December, where we are encouraged to put on a festive jumper and donate £2. If you don’t already own one, i’ve seen several in charity shops and on reselling websites, which avoids buying something brand new if you’re only going to wear it once a year. It’s easy to get involved, and most schools and workplaces are happy to join in!
Make a Winter Playlist
Music can be a very effective way of getting in the spirit for a new season. Think of the songs that remind you of winter and add them to a playlist. Whether that’s cheerful Christmas songs, or tunes that remind you of the bleakness of winter weather like Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights or Walking in the Rain by The Ronettes.
Get Wrapped Up and Go For a Walk
Whilst it’s lovely to stay inside and be cosy by a radiator, it can get a bit stuffy and claustrophobic. Put on your big coat, hat and scarf, and brush off the cobwebs with a brisk winter walk. You’ll really feel glad to be back in the warm again afterwards!
Enjoy Soup Season
Whilst I personally am a year-round soup fan, winter really is when a bowl of warming broth comes into its own. If you think you’re not a fan of soup, I bet you’ve just not found one you like yet! A combo of cream of tomato with a cheese toastie is a classic for a reason, whilst a homemade vegetable soup, with all the leftover veg at the end of the week and some lentils or beans, can be a hearty meal with a part baked roll. If you want something with more oomph, try a spicy dal or a chilli bean soup.
Prepare for the New Year
Instead of thinking up New Year’s resolutions that you won’t keep, instead prepare properly for the upcoming year. Are there things you want to do? Items needed? Is there something you’ve put off fixing that you could do? Get a new calendar and put all your important dates on.
If you have a rink nearby, an afternoon of ice skating can put you in a great festive mood! Lots of places have pop-up rinks with skate hire, and many have tools to make it easier for the kids. Unfortunately I am a terrible ice skater and usually fall over, but it’s definitely fun!
Winter Live Performances
Whether it’s a festive play, pantomime, nativity, or Christmas concert, going to a live performance is a perfect way to get in the mood. Pre-Covid my family regularly went to see our local orchestra do a festive piece like The Snowman or The Nutcracker, and I really want to go back this year. If you’re not keen on a panto or nativity, a seasonal play like The Railway Children or Hansel and Gretel can be a great alternative.
Prepare for Seasonal Illness, Weather, etc.
If your family haven’t been struck by a bug yet this year, you’re very lucky! Before the season continues, it’s a great idea to make sure your medicine cupboard is stocked for any eventuality, and look at which things can be taken together safely. Whilst you’re there, make sure you have plenty of non-medical supplies like honey and lemon, vitamins, and that your hot water bottle is in good condition. Similarly, it might be wise to check your fire alarms and invest in a mini fire extinguisher or blanket if you intend to do a lot of cooking, and make sure you’re ready if your area is prone to flooding or snow.