Hello dear reader! Since we’re quickly getting near Christmas I thought I’d throw in a fun post with a little gift for you. At the bottom of today’s post I have a pretty phone wallpaper that you can save onto your cell phone. I hope you enjoy using it for a little while and think of the wonderful community of women we have here. But first I’d like to share with you my winter bucket list for 2021-2022. These are ideas for fun activities you and I can do during the winter months.
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I can find no shortage of ways to get out and make the most of my day in the spring, summer or fall. But come winter I struggle a little to come up with creative ways to fill my days with more than work. So my daughter Abigail and I have put our brains together to come up with a winter bucket list full of ideas that will help us get dressed for our day and then get out there and make the most of that day.
Enjoy a Day at the Museum
A few months ago I went to a Van Gogh exhibit at a museum in Indianapolis with friends. It was such a fun day. James and I have also enjoyed browsing through the Cincinnati Art Museum. But you might choose a museum focused on aeronautics, automobiles, history, fashions or science. Scope out a museum in your area that you haven’t ever visited. If there’s a restaurant or tea room on the premises, stop in for a snack or meal.
Browse Through a Nearby Town
Most all of us live near a little town worth exploring. I’ve learned to keep my expectations low and reasonable. Then I’m always surprised and delighted when I discover a fun antique shop, a great coffee cafe or a sweet tea room. Sure, you can go casual. But why not dress up a little for the day, keeping your outfit simple, warm and suitable for a casual stroll, but also interesting and pretty?
Pro Tip: Many little towns almost shut down on Mondays. And during the winter shops may have shorter hours and abbreviated schedules. So do a little research and call ahead before heading out.
Attend a Concert
The winter is a great time to take in a concert. Whether you buy tickets to hear a large symphony in the city or a chamber orchestra at a college, you can often find matinee or evening concerts to choose from. Truly, if you live near a university of any size, check for free senior recitals or other student productions, which are often offered at lower prices.
And while you don’t have to, it’s always appropriate and fun to dress nicely for concerts. Make a day or evening of it by having dessert out afterwards.
Pro Tip: Winter is also when a lot of high schools offer musical productions. You can support a local school and enjoy a fun production at the same time.
Take a Drive (or Walk) to Look at Christmas Lights
We’ve all put so much effort into decorating for the holidays. Now it’s time to enjoy each others’ labors. Pour everyone a serving of hot chocolate in a disposable cup with a lid. Pack some snacks, too! Scout out nearby neighborhoods to see how they’re lighting up for the holidays.
Create a Warm Fragrance for Your Home
I love the scents of Christmas. But we can enjoy these sweet, spicy fragrances throughout the winter, too. Simply put a small pot on the stove filled about half way with water. Add whatever fragrant ingredients you have on hand, such as orange peels, an apple, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, fresh ginger, lemon peels and star anise. Set the pot to simmer gently on the stove. I generally set myself a timer to remind me to check on the simmering pot in, say, 30 minutes. Definitely don’t leave it and forget it!
Spend a Full Morning, Afternoon or Evening Reading by the Fire
I tend to grab moments here and there to read and/or relax. But winter is a dreamy time to build a nice fire (or turn one on!) and just sit for a long spell of reading and relaxing. Give yourself permission to turn off the phone and really settle in for a quiet few hours of reading or, potentially, napping by the soft crackle of a warm fire. Maybe listen to instrumental music, have a snack or warm beverage on hand, cuddle up with a soft blanket and wear something clean and fresh, but oh so cozy.
Take Old Winter Outerwear to a Shelter or Donation Site
There seems to always be a need for outerwear donations during the winter. Not only could you gather the coats, scarves, mittens and hats you no longer need to donate, but you could also knit winter accessories to give.
Volunteer at a Food Bank or Soup Kitchen
In the same way, help is needed at food banks and soup kitchens more in the winter months than other times of the year. Especially during January through March, when Thanksgiving and Christmas donations become depleted, community kitchens and food banks begin to run dry and need more personnel, too. I’ve discovered that volunteer organizations are taking extreme precautions to stay safe and sanitary during the pandemic, but if you still prefer not to volunteer you could simply take a donation and drop it off.
Pro Tip: Don’t know where to volunteer? Ask your church’s secretary for recommendations. She or he will probably know of agencies, groups or church organizations with whom they cooperate for helping people in crisis.
Take a Brisk Walk on a Cold Day
I’m as prone as the next cold-natured coward to skip my outdoor walk when the temperatures plummet. But if I think of it as a Winter Bucket List item I’m more prone to bundle up and enjoy the challenge of staying warm while on a brisk walk. Layer on the warmth with leggings, fleece lined pants, multiple tops, as well as a hat and gloves.
Go On an Off Season Winter Getaway
This is a great time to get away to a summer vacation destination. Sure, some things will be closed for the off season, but you’ll still find things to do and places to explore. For instance, James and I went to Charleston, South Carolina, for our honeymoon in January. It was quiet and less crowded, but we were still able to explore a nearby plantation, visit Fort Sumter and eat at delicious restaurants. And this year we’re heading to Port Clinton, Ohio, again, where we expect to be some of the few tourists there.
Schedule a Spa Day
During the winter our skin can get dry and lackluster. It’s a great time of the year to schedule a spa day. You could have a facial, a massage, a mani-pedi or some other relaxing and rejuvenating service, but I especially enjoy treatments that benefit my skin at this time of year. Check out nearby resorts or day spas for packages or single item offerings. But hurry! These establishments tend to get busier around Valentine’s Day.
Pro Tip: Be prepared to feel a little wiped out after a massage. Drink plenty of water before and after.
Enroll in a New Exercise Class
Winter is a great time to check out a new gym or workout facility or class. Check community centers, churches, Facebook communities and senior centers for offerings. Consider pilates, zumba, stretching classes or weight training groups.
Invite a Friend or Two Over for Coffee
Whatever happened to the days when friends simply dropped in for coffee? I think it’s time to revive that familiar tradition. Keep it simple so that you nor your guest feels overwhelmed by preparations or fuss. Instead, just serve coffee or hot tea and maybe one type of cookie or cake (that you pulled from the freezer or the bakery shelf!). Focus on sweet conversation and lingering with one another over a simple cup of warmth. Ask your friend to tell you her story, listen well and savor this gentle custom.
Do you have items to add to my Winter Bucket List for 2021-2022? If you do, let me know and I’ll add them over the next few days. I think this is a great time of year to challenge ourselves to make the most of our days.
A Gift from Abby & Me
While I was writing today’s post, Abigail created a few new pretty wallpapers for your cell phone. You can just tap on the one of your choice, download one or all three to your phone and then set one as the wallpaper for your device.
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Blessed for My Day
Good news of great joy! Indeed. The good news of Christmas is that we have a savior. Messiah has come. We no longer have to live in darkness or dread, guilt or sadness. We have hope and assurance and a future. We know that while in this world we will have tribulation, Christ has overcome the world, so we need not feel doomed or defeated.
Let’s rejoice in the good news of God with us, Emmanuel. And let’s share that good news with others. A simple “Merry Christmas!” or a Christmas card with a Bible verse can help someone else know the reason you celebrate this season. But we can also pause to share the gospel with someone who is hurting or confused or living in fear.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ~ Luke 2:8-11