By Taylor Woolsey —
Winter is here! Start your new year off right by making the most of what the season has to offer:
Winter is cold. Luckily, there is a great solution to this predicament, BLANKETS! Wrapping yourself up in fuzzy blankets, settling in for a movie, and drinking a cup of hot chocolate may be the coziest combination ever invented. Equally as wonderful: a yummy candle, tea, and the book that’s been sitting on your shelf for ages. Winter is the best time to pursue indoor activities and catch up on personal pursuits like finishing books, listening to new music, or journaling.
Reconnect with family
Wherever you call home, winter is often met with harsher weather than is common in your area, and it is usually best to spend most of your time indoors. Being stuck inside can often feel like being trapped, but may prove to be just the thing needed to build or repair personal relationships. Time that would have been spent doing outside-related things can now be spent inside with the people you love. Sometimes, even when you live in close quarters, life is often spent in a rush, passing each other in the hallway and sending texts from room to room. When the winter weather forces everyone inside, it is great to have the quality time you may have been missing out on.
Travel somewhere warmer
Fun fact: Seasons are not the same all over the world. If you are considering a vacation during the winter months, find a location that is in a different climate zone. The closer to the equator, the warmer you’ll be—soaking in the sun in the middle of winter will feel like a dream you’ll never want to wake up from. Look for discount airlines if you’re flying domestic because there are plenty of places to catch sun in the U.S. For international destinations, round-trip flights from the U.S. to places like Central and South America, and the Caribbean are usually cheaper at this time of year.
Play in the snow
This may only apply to people who live close enough to snow, but enjoying it is a quintessential part of the winter season that is always fun. In the Pacific Northwest, you’re never more than two hours to the nearest mountain with fresh snow and an epic day ahead of you. Skiing, snowboarding, snow angels, snowball fights, clam chowder bread bowls at ski lodges, fuzzy boots, sledding, pine trees, snowflakes, good-looking ski instructors . . . okay, I just got a little carried away, but SEE HOW MANY FUN THINGS YOU CAN DO IN THE SNOW?
For all the volunteering opportunities that are available year-round, the winter season offers the best opportunities to give back. If you are comfortable financially, holiday bonuses are a great excuse to give a little more. A suggestion for donating money: really research the organization you are giving to before you do so. It is extremely easy for companies and organizations to accept money and utilize donations in a way that doesn’t help people directly. Nonprofits are required to report their expenditures, so it is easy to find out their relevant information. Websites like Charity Navigator rate organizations based on financial transparency and accountability.
If time is what you are interested in giving this winter season, there are many ways to find exactly what you are looking for. Time is one of the most precious things you can give because it enforces the respect and kindness that everyone should get to experience during the holiday season. Most cities have online databases to help find volunteering opportunities based on personal preference. There are so many people in need so close to home that using this season as a time for giving anything you can is something that will make both you and others feel great.
Enjoy the natural scenery
Winter is considered by some to be a time when things are generally darker and more morose. One only has to look outside to realize that nature is just as beautiful and unique as ever during the winter months. Drive up to a high enough elevation point and watch as fog descends into the tree line. Visit the coast and watch as the waves perform a precarious and violent dance against the shore. If it’s not too stormy, put on your best rain gear and go outside for a walk and listen to the drops of water hitting thousands of different surfaces. Discover how wonderful and beautiful winter can be.