Two years ago, I used the early December freebie post to talk about why winter and the winter holiday season is hard for me.
This year I thought I’d follow up to that post with a list of things I like about winter and the winter holiday season. Some of these answers are bookish while others maybe not so much.
1. Fewer Migraines
Last summer when wildfires were burning out of control across Canada and pollen counts were high, I had two to three times as many migraines as I normally would have because both pollen and air pollution are triggers for me. Combining those two things together was not good for my health at all.
I will still have migraines this winter as some of them are unavoidable for me, but they will hopefully be back to my baseline number of them instead of the rough few months I had over the summer.
2. Better Sleep
With fewer migraines and no seasonal allergies to deal with, I’m going to be getting much more restful sleep this winter as long as I don’t catch any winter illnesses. There’s nothing like sleeping deeply and waking up refreshed!
3. More Time to Read
Yes, some people relish plenty of outdoor time on cold, snowy, slippery days…but I am not one of them.
When the weather outside is frightful, I stay home and catch up on my reading.
There are so many books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had the chance to dig into yet.
This winter could put a serious dent in my TBR list, especially if we get the heavy snowfall that some meteorologists say could happen for Ontario this year.
4. Warm, Hearty Meals
I love chili, stew, soup, spaghetti, cottage pie, and all sorts of other cold-weather dishes that aren’t very practical to cook or appetizing to eat when it’s 40 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) outside and the humidity levels are 90%.
This time of year, though, is perfect for eating a bowl or plate of food that you know will keep your belly warm and full as the snow falls thickly outside and the temperature drops below zero.
5. Mandarin Oranges
In related food news, mandarin oranges are in season again. I try to choose my diet based on what’s in season as much as possible, so citrus is a nice break from the apples and bananas that make up so many of my fruit servings over the winter.
6. Enjoying Winter-y Reads
These past several years, I’ve read and reread winter-themed books over the winter.
It’s kind of fun to read books about characters dealing with snowy, slippery, and stormy conditions when many of us in the Northern Hemisphere will be doing the same thing for the next three to four months (or longer for folks who live in the far north!)
C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol are on my re-read list for this winter. I don’t yet know which other books fitting this theme I might also read or reread, but I’m sure I’ll find something.
(If you have suggestions for nonfiction, mysteries, or speculative fiction set during the winter, I’d love to hear them!)
7. The Beauty of Winter
This isn’t a photo of my neighbourhood, but it does capture just how pretty the world can be after a good snowstorm.
I love the way snow softens the harsh lines of everything and adds a gentle touch to what can otherwise be a relentless sea of black, brown, and grey colours over winter.
It’s also interesting to walk around outside during or after a snowstorm and notice how much quieter even the city can be when snow is muffling all of the noises that machines, people, and animals make.
8. Seasonal Treats
I’m sure this is true just about everywhere right now, too, but November and December are when Toronto’s grocery stores fill up with all sorts of delicious seasonal treats. For example, there’s a specific brand of kosher chocolate I always keep an eye out for over late autumn or the winter because there are no milk products in it and it’s not available the rest of the year.
Now is also when I stock up on candy-cane flavoured stuff, dairy-free hot chocolate, and whatever else catches my eye when I’m buying groceries.
9. Winter Light Displays
You see them for all sorts of different winter holidays in Toronto.
I love the fact that I can walk around and enjoy them without being responsible for planning how to arrange them, putting them up, replacing their burnt-out bulbs, or taking them down again in January.
Thank you to everyone who has the time and creativity for these sorts of decorations! You make a lot of strangers who pass by and notice them very happy.
I’m sharing this photo mostly because it’s adorable, although it does fit the theme somewhat.
10. Quiet Days
Years ago I used to work in jobs that were incredibly busy in November and December.
It was always a huge relief to make it to the end of December and know things were going to be much less hectic for the next few months. (Please be nice to everyone in the service industry this holiday season and always! They work really hard to help make your celebrations special).
I love the feeling of walking through quiet stores, neighbourhoods, or parks just after the holiday season ends and most people have returned to their regular daily routines. It’s such a peaceful moment in life.