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Published April 11th 2020
Thirty ideas for a cosy winter at home
Winter is coming, Canberra.
Winter just LOVES Canberra. It seems to last forever here, with temperatures plummeting below zero, biting arctic-like winds, frosty mornings, and that abysmal cold that can chill you even right through your thick woollen layers. And yes, we also have snow.
Unfortunately, with the Coronavirus pandemic keeping us locked in our homes, this winter will be very different from the last one. For many Canberrans, there'll be no trips to the snowfields this year or school holiday breaks in much warmer climes such as Fiji or Queensland. We'll all be stuck in our homes, hibernating away until spring arrives.
But being stuck at home during winter doesn't have to be such an awful experience. After all, the weather outside is frightful, anyway, and that roaring fireplace-if you've got one-is just so delightful! Whereas summer and spring are seasons where you spend most of your time outdoors, winter just seems to be the perfect season for being at home.
So here are thirty ideas for enjoying a winter wonderland within the warmth and comfort of your home.
1. Decorate your home for winter. You're sure to have lots of decorations for winter already. If you celebrate Christmas, just pull out your Christmas tree and all the Santa Clauses, reindeer, snowmen, holly, Christmas villages, etc because here in Australia, we've adopted the winter traditions and symbols of the Northern European Christmas. Your wintery Christmas decorations make so much more sense now in June, July and August rather than during our scorching hot December.
4. Read books. I love nothing better than sitting in front of my fireplace and reading, preferably with a glass of wine and some chocolate to keep me company too. Winter seems to be the season for books. If you want to discover new books and take your reading to the next level, why not take up the Libraries ACT 2020 Reading Challenge this winter?
6. Have a fun games night with the family. Don't just play board games. Go here for some other great game ideas using simple items from around your house that will keep the whole family entertained.
7. Enjoy the winter sunshine and go for walks or bike rides in your neighbourhood. See, breathe, and feel winter all around you. Just make sure you rug up, and be mindful of the physical/social distancing rules.
8. Enjoy the winter trees. The trees that were bursting with gold or red leaves in autumn are now bare and stark and almost skeletal looking. But I think these bare winter trees are beautiful in their own way. During your walks, why not take photos of the winter trees in your neighbourhood? If you have one in your yard, why not decorate the bare branches with colourful ribbons or hang them with fairy lights or lanterns?
9. Get the kids crafting. The kids will be homeschooling again in Term 2 so keep them busy and entertained with winter crafts. And yes, you can still put all those toilet paper roll tubes to good crafting use! Check out easypeasyandfun, DLTK, and Red Ted Art for some great ideas.
10. Watch Christmas movies. If you've got your Christmas tree and decorations up, then get into the wintry festive spirit by having a Christmas movie night. Enjoy Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Love Actually, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, The Santa Clause, The Holiday, and yes, Die Hard!
11. Bake stuff. There's just something about winter and baking lots of yummy goodies that makes you feel all warm and cosy inside!
12. Celebrate Christmas in July. With Canberra possibly being the coldest city in Australia ever during our seemingly eternal winter, then there really is no better place to experience a white kind of Christmas. So why not celebrate Christmas in July? If you've got your Christmas tree and decorations up, then why not go the whole hog? You're not going anywhere, anyway, so you may as well make winter enjoyable. Put up your Christmas tree if you haven't done so already, deck your halls with boughs of holly, wear your ugly Christmas jumpers if you have them, listen to Michael Buble, exchange simple presents, make pavlova, watch Christmas movies, and celebrate with a Christmas feast.
13. Create a winter wreath for your door. It's such a beautiful way of honouring the season in your home. If you don't like the idea of putting up your Christmas decorations again, then a wreath is simple and a perfect alternative. You can make your own, or just use your Christmas one.
14. Make a snowman out of marshmallows. A perfect activity for family games night! Use icing or toothpicks to join the marshmallows together. You could also make a marshmallow tower or igloo or Elsa's castle from Frozen.
17. Help the vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community this winter.
With Coronavirus strongly impacting on the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our community, you can help those in need this winter by donating food and other essentials to Communities@Work at Tuggeranong Community Centre, South.Point Tuggeranong, Cooleman Court, Gungahlin Community Centre, Gungahlin Village, Gungahlin Marketplace and Calwell Shopping Centre.
18. String fairy lights inside your home and in your garden.
19. Make a pinecone feeder for the birds in your garden. Take care of the birds that come to your garden during the coming cold months by making pine cone feeders. They're very simple to make. Kidspot has a simple feeder for young kids to make. If you are homeschooling your kids, this will also make a great project.
20. Wrap up in a big blanket and go out at night to see the winter moon and stars.
21. Collect pine cones and use them for birdfeeders or as decorations for your wreath.
24. Connect with your loved ones. Especially your elderly relatives. Make sure you maintain regular contact with your loved ones during this self-isolation time via phone calls or text messages or Zoom meetings or Skype and Facetime, etc. Many of us will struggle with loneliness during the long cold Canberra winter.
30. Be aware of the winter blues. Winter can be a difficult time. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as 'SAD' or the winter blues, will affect some of us. And added to that may be our fears and anxieties over the coronavirus pandemic. If you (or someone you know) are struggling, please know that help and support are available. Go to Beyond Blue for national helplines and websites information. Or go to Head to Health which provides links to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options.
This doesn't have to be the winter of our discontent, Canberra. These thirty ideas are just some of the ways we can enjoy the long, bleak season ahead, and hopefully bring some light and warmth into our homes during this time of darkness.
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."