In any given year, January can be a tough time with dark nights and dreary weather. Throw in a global pandemic that has restricted many of our normal activities, and, well, you have the perfect recipe for a gloomy month. Instead, let’s embrace what my husband calls “an attitude of gratitude.”
My kids know I don’t like them to complain about being bored. Rather I want them to enjoy our space, their toys, and each other. Likewise, I want to see our extra time at home this winter while we’re staying warm and avoiding the coronavirus as time to unwind, take care of ourselves, and reconnect with one another without some of the usual daily pressures.
This winter isn’t a normal winter, but that’s how seasons work. There are rhythms even when circumstances change. I remind myself of this often during these short days that have me longing for summer.
“God has made each season beautiful and appropriate in its own time. Yes, spring, summer, fall, and winter repeat, but each winter looks different than the one before because God is transforming me. I’m not the same this year as I was as a child or even just last year. There can be similarities and traditions from one year to the next, but the details change from one season to the next, from one year to the next. That’s both wonderful and terrifying. …
Nothing in this life stays the same. That almost seems like a threat, but really it’s a promise too. Traditions anchor us, but our God won’t leave us where we were in the winter by the time springs starts blooming new life.”– From my book “Bringing Home More Than Groceries: Stories of Gathering & Nourishing People”
Let’s look at a few ways to plan the ultimate cozy night in – with your family, whoever else lives under your roof, who you’re quarantining with, or a larger social circle once the pandemic passes.
Curl up with a good book
Okay, so, I miss having a fire place, but y’all know I always want a good book!
Apparently when speaking of happiness, relaxation, and self-care, some people use the Danish word ‘hygge’ as it encapsulates those feelings and activities. I associate comfort with being snuggled up the couch we love, wrapped in a soft blanket, a kid cuddled in close, and a book that I can’t put down.
I tend to prefer actual books, but Kindles and other devices sure are handy. Take a look at Troypoint for some of the best sites to download books or stream your favorite shows, movies, or music. Of course, if you’re looking for some recommended reads, I’ve got y’all covered there too.
Order a takeout
My mother-in-law has been recovering from a quadruple bypass heart surgery at our house for the past couple of weeks. That’s added some extra logistic details to our life, but it’s also prompted our great community of friends to feed us! I’ve barely cooked this month, which has been nice. I enjoy cooking, but a break has been welcomed for my shrinking mental capacity. Plus we just learned Murray Eats delivers food from restaurants to our porch. We live seven miles from town, so we didn’t think we could have pizza – much less Cracker Barrel – delivered to us.
Yes, COVID-19 has interrupted eating out plans, but so many of our local restaurants have upped their carry-out game. So take a break, and order dinner in. Perhaps even enjoy it on some paper plates!
When our friends are feeding us, I will get back to recruiting my oldest daughter to help me in the kitchen. I do cherish that time together making memories and meals.
Have a sleepover
We don’t really do sleepovers outside our house for various reasons that have nothing to do with a cozy night in. With Peggy recovering from her open heart surgery here, we’ve had to play musical bedrooms. Cate moved to Rachel’s room and Rachel has a spare twin mattress in our back living room. Seeing Rachel set up with her stuffed animals, favorite blankets, and unicorn sleep mask reminds me of how cozy and fun it can be for kids to vary their sleeping situations.
Dig out some fairy lights, sweet and salty snacks, and tell your kids all about your own sleepover experiences – or at least the parts you want them to know about!
Play board games
Y’all know we love games around here! We’ve been playing a lot of Monopoly Junior and Othello recently, but ask me next week and we’re likely to have other boxes sitting on our dining room table. Of course, I have a list of all our family favorites, if you’re looking for some at-home entertainment and competition.
This is the fourth in a series about why hospitality matters in every season. (October. November. December.) And, yes, hospitality happens right in your home with your people. Learn more about this and get some free resources on the “Bringing Home More than Groceries” page.