Nov 25

28 Reasons to Love Winter, Right Now

Joy is bringing you some of our smartest, most financially savvy content for the past year. In the crazy-busy lead-up to the holidays, it’s important to remember that making time for your happiness can make your life richer — as well as your wallet.


“Ugh, I hate this weather.”


“Is winter over yet?”


‘I just want it to be warm!”


In the past few weeks, how many times have you heard or said something like this? Commiserating about winter is an age-old way to connect to others, and even if you live in a relatively mild climate, this time of year can bring a lot of downsides. It’s no fun leaving the house and coming home in the dark. Cold temps and fluctuating weather can make your skin itchy and uncomfortable. Taking a full five minutes to put on your extra sweaters, coat, gloves, hat, and scarf before you leave the house, only to have to unwrap yourself once you arrive at your destination, feels so arduous. Add in coughs, sneezes, and germs, and it’s understandable that winter isn’t exactly winning the popular vote for “Best Season of the Year.”


Or at least that’s what I thought until I visited Norway this past December. Norway ranks #2 in the 2018 World Happiness Report. Finland is first place, Denmark in third, and Iceland in fourth. Notice a common thread? These countries are pretty cold and dark for a big chunk of the year. So it can’t be that the weather determines how we experience life. Norwegians seemed to find plenty of fun things to do during winter — the cool holiday market we stumbled across (complete with real reindeer) was a testament to that.


More telling: When researchers surveyed Norwegians living in Tromsø, Norway — a city so far north the sun never truly rises in winter — they found that the majority of participants had a positive attitude toward the winter. While in Norway, I saw firsthand how shifting your mindset can shift your mood. People didn’t complain or hide under the covers when temps dipped below freezing. Instead, they bundled up and lived their best lives. They also practiced the art of hygge — learning how to revel in cozy pleasures — and found time to connect, chill, and cuddle.


Here, 28 things to appreciate during winter… one for every day of the frigid month of February. Remember this list on the next time the weather threatens to spoil a good mood. If people in Tromsø can find joy in freezing, dark, rainy days, it’s there for you, too.  


1) Oversize sweaters


2) A streaky orange late afternoon sunset


3) Epic board games that can last all afternoon… or for days


4) Staying under the covers all day long and not feeling the least bit guilty


5) Kissing in the snow


6) Movie marathons with your BFF, complete with freshly-popped popcorn and piles of blankets


7) Hand warmers inside gloves


8) “Just because” hot chocolate given out by a local store due to the weather


9) Dogs in coats who are just so excited to be outside


10) Also, dogs wearing boots


11) That once-a-year urge to learn to knit


12) Dinner parties that start at 7 pm and last until 11 am the next morning, since the weather’s way too bad for anyone to actually drive home


13) The decadence of stepping into an almost-too-hot shower or bath


14) How the cycling room at the gym can feel like a tropical paradise


15) A giant pot of chili bubbling on the stove


16) Getting dressed up to go to a party with your partner and realizing just in time that you’d rather change into your jammies and watch endless Netflix instead


17) The magical healing power of chicken soup


18) Or really, the whole-body heating properties of any soup


19) Dark red wine


20) The icy burn in your throat during a winter run that makes you feel so alive


21) Dreaming and planning warm weather vacations


22) Cozy candlelit restaurants


23) Sharing deep convos while driving in the pitch-black — even if it’s only 4:30 pm and your destination is Target


24) Watching the look of pure glee on the neighborhood kids’ faces as they go sledding for the first time


25) Valentine’s day candy hearts


26) Having a bunch of friends over to bake cookies


27) The weird, cozy, and so-protected feeling of holding hands when both hands are covered in puffy mittens


28) The realization spring is just around the corner