*Note: This post was originally written and published in 2018*
Say what? I’m telling you, it’s possible. Those three little words, “I HATE WINTER!” Don’t need to come out of your mouth. As someone who has lived in the cold north for most of my life, there is a proper way to do winter. Once embraced, it may even have you longing for the days you can trade in that skimpy swimsuit for some stylin’ snow pants.
Here are 25 ways to help you learn to love the ice, sleet, bitter cold, snow, and dark days of winter. Check out the Rochester MN Guide to Winter Fun for more ideas!
- Dress for Success: Snow pants, scarves, wool socks, gloves, thermals, and warm coats are not just for your kids. You need them too.
- Perfect Your Hot Beverage Brewing: Think beyond hot chocolate. There are so many fun options! Make a hot beverage board and start pinning. Try making Authentic Indian Chai by our former contributor and Master Chef contestant, Shari Mukherjee.
- Soup & Stew Like You’ve Never Souped Before: If summer is grilling season, then winter is cauldron season. Pull out your biggest pot and begin your magical concoction. Spice it up a bit and try this perfect Midwest-meets-Southeast-Asia Slower Cooker Thai Chicken and Wild Rice Soup by a personal friend of mine.
- Make Ice Lanterns: Turn your yard into the sparkling kingdom of Arendelle by making these DIY ice luminaries. Feel free to light them and belt out “Let It Go” at the top of your lungs!
- Splurge on the Perfect Sweater or Winter Wrap: Every year I splurge on at least one expensive sweater. Usually, one made of natural fibers and is soft, beautiful, and cozy. I always cringe at the initial price, but when I put it on the regrets quickly slip away.
- Treat Your Feet: Peppermint lotion, fuzzy socks infused with aloe, and a favorite pair of slippers. Need I say more?
- DIY Rice Socks or Hand Warmers: These are such an easy afternoon project with your kids. Make one for everyone in the family! When you feel a bit chilly, microwave them and soak in the warmth. There are also plenty of DIY hand warmers you can heat up before going out in the cold.
- Have a Winter Bonfire: Winter bonfires are the best. Dig out that firepit, and build the biggest fire you make safely. Invite some friends over and stand around stomping your feet, telling stories, and drinking hot beverages as you slowly turn to warm up all sides of you.
- Take up a Winter Sport: Ice skating, sledding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling are just a few options. Learning a winter sport can make all the difference in your attitude toward winter. If you don’t want to make a big investment in equipment, buy it used to try it out.
- Light Candles: Push back the darkness by purchasing your favorite candles and lighting them on a nightly basis to create a feeling of coziness.
- Host Board Game Nights: Your kids might not appreciate all those amazing soups you are making, but your friends sure will! Make a big pot, invite some friends over, and host a board game night or a throwback Nintendo or Atari game night.
- Fondue For Dinner: A couple of years ago we bought a fondue pot. My daughter calls it “fun-do” night when we use it. Dipping bread, veggies, and little potatoes into melted cheese is a fun and super kid-friendly meal.
- Winter Hike: Put on all that winter gear and go in search of a frozen waterfall, or just to take in all the beauty in the wildness of winter. Bring along a thermos of coffee, hot chocolate, or soup and a winter picnic.
- Make that Emergency Kit for Your Car: For your own peace of mind, take the time to make that winter survival kit. Stay home if at all possible in bad weather.
- Have a Family Read-Aloud: Take some time to read a little bit of a chapter book every night aloud with your family. Or if reading aloud isn’t your thing, listen to an audiobook together as a family.
- Visit an Ice castle and Walk on a Frozen Lake: As a child, I remember driving out on a lake to go ice fishing. I remember thinking I can’t believe we are driving on the water! When the world is in a deep freeze, and your local DNR says that ice conditions are safe, go for a walk or (more likely) go boot sliding.
- Make a To-Watch Movie List: If there is any time that you can guilt-free binge-watch television, the depth of winter is it. Why waste an hour each night trying to decide? Plan ahead by searching Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and make a To-Watch list– one for adults, and another for the family.
- Plan a Homemade Pizza Night: Pizza is almost everyone’s favorite food. It is especially fun when you make your own dough, cook up your favorite toppings, and slice and dice the extras. Spread a blanket in front of the television, and pull out the To-Watch list for an easy family night.
- Photograph All Things Ice and Snow: The beauty of frost on the bare branches of a tree, light shining through a massive icicle, happy snowmen, snow angels, fresh snow, or a frozen waterfall. The ideas are endless, breathtaking, and will give you a whole new appreciation for the winter season.
- Plan a Winter Get-Away: When winter just gets to be too much, book that trip to a warmer place. Get your chilly body to the beach and soak up some sun. If your budget is a bit tight, become an armchair traveler by visiting the South of France or Italy via books. Or try an indoor vacation to Wisconsin Dells, or take a Virtual Vacation.
- Track the Weather With Your Kids: For the science-minded family, a homemade weather tracking station or a purchased weather kit can be lots of fun. Track the number of inches of snowfall, the direction and speed of the wind, sun and amount of cloud cover, and the temperature.
- Visit Large Indoor Spaces: Combat cabin fever by visiting large indoor spaces like museums, malls, zoos, trampoline parks, indoor playgrounds, or my favorite: a greenhouse or conservatory.
- Craft Away: Take a trip to your local library and check out any book you can on crafts. Pick up felt, wooden sticks, glue, pompoms, pipe cleaners, and fabric squares, and get busy. The possibilities are endless.
- Check Out All the Books on Hibernation: How does a toad live through winter? Where do the bats go? How long does a bear actually sleep? So many questions to explore with your inquisitive nature-lovers.
- Build Snow Creatures: Build snowmen, snowwomen, snow kids, snowdogs, snowcats, or even a snow giraffe. Get serious about creating snow creatures.