If you know me even a little bit, you’ll know that I do not like winter. I am a summer girl. Spring and fall are fine, too. But winter? No thank you. I don’t like to be cold yet I also don’t like to wear a lot of clothing. And I definitely don’t like to wear socks and shoes. Birkenstocks all the way! Or barefoot. I also need light and humidity. In fact, if you look up the proper conditions for orchids you’ll see that we are kindred spirits.
So what’s a summer girl/orchid to do when winter rolls around each year? Complaining doesn’t help. I’ve tried. A few years ago I decided that unless and until I move somewhere without winter I needed a better plan than whining three or four months out of every year.
Since today is the first day of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere I decided this would be a good time to share my winter survival plan. If you are one of those curious creatures who actually likes winter you can skip this one. Although if you live with a winter-hater you might discover a few ways to help your companion survive winter which would be a really nice thing to do. Besides, you will also benefit by having a more cheerful atmosphere in your home.
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Dee’s Winter Prep and Survival Guide
An introverted winter-hater has a tendency to hibernate indoors for the season. If their responsibilities don’t require leaving the house, they may not. This is me. I don’t work outside the home and while we do have a fair number of evening activities to attend, for the most part I can get away with not leaving the house during a day far more than is healthy. Fortunately I do have a dog who needs to be walked so that helps me get outdoors a bit.
I have found that I am much more likely to go outside for some fresh air and at least a bit of what counts for sunshine in the winter if I’m warm and dry. Good boots, warm gloves, a snuggly scarf and a large, sturdy umbrella are essential for me. We live on 40 mostly wooded acres so I can take walks without leaving our property. I try to pretend I’m a character in an old British novel. They were forever rambling about, taking their daily “constitutional”.
Top of my list for comfortable winter walking is a good pair of boots. I have a pair of Hunter boots which I bought a few years ago when we hosted our annual Happyland Music Fest in truly dreadful conditions. Think: Woodstock. It rained almost continuously all three days and our property was basically a swamp. Those boots were my salvation. They have a permanent home by our front door where I can easily slip them on to take Shiloh on his walks. I purposely bought them a size too large to accommodate thick socks if necessary but also so I can just step into them without having to sit and pull them on. I’ve had other rain boots in the past but they end up cracking within a year or so. I highly recommend Hunter boots if you want something that will last. Besides, they work with my British walking fantasies. Mine are black but I’m really tempted to splurge on a second pair in red. Aren’t these cheery?
Next on my list is an umbrella. And not one of those flimsy, collapsible types. No, I’m talking about a large, sturdy, wood handled umbrella. I bought one a couple of months ago and love it. It’s large and opens easily. It’s handy to have one of those small, cheap umbrellas in the car but for a proper walk in the rain, a good umbrella makes all the difference.
Warm hands are a must for me. I try to keep several pairs of inexpensive, one-size-fits-all, knit gloves on hand but a nice pair of lined leather gloves is a real treat.
An oversize, warm scarf is essential for me when it’s cold and windy. I have asthma and breathing cold air can bring on an attack. But with a scarf around my neck I can pull up a section over my mouth and nose, allowing me to breath warmer air. If it’s really cold I will also pull part of it over my head in lieu of a hat. I like winter hats about as much as I like wearing socks and shoes (not at all).
Now that we’ve got the outdoors taken care of, let’s focus on the indoors. Because let’s face it, that’s where I’m going to be most of the time when it’s cold outside.
As I’ve said, I’m no fan of having to wear socks and shoes but I also don’t like cold feet. If I have to wear socks, pretty pink angora would make it a bit more tolerable. My preferred indoor winter footwear, though, are lined Minnetonka slippers. They keep my feet warm indoors without having to wear socks. These have a thin rubber sole so I can even step out onto the front porch or patio in them. I’ve just about worn mine out and will be replacing them soon.
No matter where you sit in my house, there is a quilt, afghan or throw blanket within reach. I’d much rather have a blanket over my feet than socks. I know I keep mentioning my dislike of socks but I just like my feet to be free. But warm. I have all sorts of blankets and throws but I really like these Berkshire blankets. My mom gave us a couple of light green ones last year and then recently gave me a pale pink one. They are SO soft! They are warm but lightweight. And isn’t this snowflake print cute?
Keep an eye out for Part 2 where we’ll talk about lighting, indoor games and activities, the concept of hygge and more!