Winter is rough on a lot of people, but I personally like most things about it. As long as the sun is shining, I don't mind the cold. (Cue Let It Go.) Snow is one of my favorite things, as are sweaters, boots, and fires. Maybe I like winter because of my Scandinavian ancestry. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, while we have no air conditioning in the school where I teach, we do in fact have heat. And it's heat that I can actually control from my classroom, which is a rarity for most teachers.
I will admit that when we have one of our Midwestern stretches of no sunshine for eight or nine days, winter starts to get to me. I also don't enjoy the fact that it's dark out by 4:30 most evenings. De-pressing. So what's been lifting my spirits in January? Here's my list:
1) My birthday is at the end of January. I have not yet reached the age when I don't like to be treated a little special on my birthday. I hope I never do. Letters from my students, a few presents, and cupcakes are a few things that brightened up the end of the month for me.
2) Changing the decorations in my house always gives me a lift. In January the snowmen come out in full force. Yesterday I put up my Valentine's Day decorations. I know some people think I'm nuts for putting things out for what is not even considered a major holiday, but it is always a reminder to me that winter is progressing. The year is moving on, even when it feels like we might never see daylight after 5:00 each evening. Valentine's Day is a reminder we will! (What? It's February already??) Right after Valentine's Day this year, I will be busting out my St. Patrick's Day paraphernalia. Easter is so early this year, and this (part) Irish girl wants to enjoy the green. And the green really makes me feel like spring might actually be arriving.
3) Okay, these socks are saving me right now too. I know, I know, it may seem crazy that a pair of socks could save your life. Believe me, if you were standing outside on freezing cold asphalt for recess every day, a pair of socks might be a lifesaver for you too. These are just from plain old Wal-Mart, but I've never worn wool blend socks before. My feet often get hot when it's cold, then sweat, and then are freezing (weird). I always thought wool blend socks were not for me. I. Was. Wrong. Somehow these breathe better than any other socks I own, while keeping my feet toasty at the same time.
4) Planning the menu is saving my life right now. I started meal planning about two years ago. It was like arriving at a miracle. I don't know how we survived before doing this. I guess we did, but things were just much more hectic and disorganized. For the last six months or so, I've just been snapping a picture of the monthly menu with my phone so I have it with me when I grocery shop.
5) And finally, a good book haul is saving me too. Winter is the best time to read, preferably in front of a fire. There are some days when you can actually feel good about doing nothing except reading all day because it is just too cold to do anything else. Maybe this is the best reason to love winter.