It sure seems like winter comes earlier and earlier each year to the Midwest. I do enjoy the change of seasons. I lived for a short time in a place that didn’t have very distinct seasons to speak of (St. Augustine, FL), and I really didn’t enjoy 90 degrees days in March. Cooler temperatures that usually arrive sometime in October mean busting out the big, cozy blankets, switching closets around and whipping up something sweet and decadent in the oven. These are the fun aspects of fall and winter. Likewise, I don’t mind bundling up in layers of coats and scarves to run to the store, or that our pets become even more cuddly when there’s a chill in the air.
My biggest qualm with winter is the lack of sun. I can handle 5 degrees if the sun is shining. I’d actually rather it be 5 and sunny than 45 and dreary! But, much more often than I’d like, Cincinnati doesn’t see the sun in the winter for weeks on end–or at least so it seems. That’s the tough part. And, dreary winter has arrived early this year; it’s not even Thanksgiving and we’re already seeing stretches of days with temperatures hovering around freezing and flat, gray skies.
So, even though I’m not usually one of those people who really gets into the Christmas spirit, I decided that this year I would make a conscious effort to do so. Part of this newfound seasonal excitement could also be the fact that we just bought our first home this year, and I’ve been looking for excuses to decorate it for practically every holiday this year! One main challenge we have with decorating is the fact that we have two particularly curious (indoor-only) ginger kitties who are very interested in anything that is dangly, jingly, fluffy or pointy. Basically, no indoor decorations would be safe from these two boys–particularly from the kitten, Ishmael. Ezra (two years old) leaves most decor alone, but there’s always the random item (hair ties and bobby pins are his favorite!) that he can’t live without batting around the house for hours on end.
Ishmael (left) and Ezra, July 2014
Since getting rid of our beloved tabbies certainly isn’t an option (I think my husband would get rid of me first), we are pretty well limited to decorating outdoors for any holiday. This past weekend, I asked my aunt if she would like to make wreaths together, since she’s had years of experience with such crafts and projects and always welcome a fun break from her office work managing their non-profit organization. Well, she said that she would love to!
On Saturday, we took our box and clippers and out we went into their yard to gather greens for our wreaths. My aunt and uncle have a large blue spruce in their back yard, so we took copious clippings from that for our wreaths. The blue spruce would serve as the base for our wreaths, since there was basically an unlimited supply for us to use. Next, we trimmed branches off of a couple other evergreen varieties in their yard. Once we had crammed as many evergreen clippings into our box as would fit (plus bundles in our arms!), we ventured into the basement–our “greens workshop” for the afternoon.
My aunt had already set up the wreath forms, pins and floral wire on a table for us, along with a trash can, red ribbon for bows and scissors. (I told ya she had been crafting for years!) We spent the next hour or so creating our wreaths, based on the careful technique that my aunt demonstrated for me. For a first-timer, I think my wreath turned out pretty well!
Homemade wreaths are a fun project
Continuing the holiday decorating theme, my husband and I decided to hang up Christmas lights on our house on Sunday afternoon. The whole process wasn’t too bad for our first time hanging lights. That being said, I’m still not aspiring to completely cover the house in lights Griswold-style next year!
Our modest attempt at outdoor decor
Never did we imagine that the very next day, we would be engulfed in a winter wonderland! It’s not even Thanksgiving, and this is very unusual for Cincinnati.
Lights and snow…a pretty combination indeed! (with cameo appearance by Cosmo in the front window)
Here’s to making the best of the dreary winter–even if it’s not your favorite season! You won’t catch me complaining when sundress and sunshine season returns. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? How do you beat the winter blues? I’d love to hear in the comments below.