I so enjoy the holidays and there is always a little bit of sadness that creeps in when they are all over but it hit me today that I think January may be my one of my favorite months.
I love the fresh start of a new year. The deep exhale and peace after the busy holiday season. The rituals that bring us close together. Winter vegetables. A desire to bake and try new recipes. And my tried and true list of essentials to help bear the darkness and bitter cold.
:: Candles. I have a 4:30 lighting ritual when darkness sets. I budget in votives and pillars each month to scatter about. They set a warm and cheery mood.
:: Red wine. A glass of red wine (or two) when I am making dinner warms and relaxes me. I am loving Malbec these days.
:: Citrus. I cannot get enough in the winter. We have a neighbor who always sell boxes of citrus right before the holidays to fund raise for various causes. I always order one or two mixed cases of oranges and grapefruit to get us through the winter. We make fresh squeezed orange juice every Christmas morning. My new favorite breakfast/snack is grapefruit, orange, clementine, kiwi and pomegranate seeds.
:: Fire. We always have a well stocked woodpile on our back porch. We light a fire almost every night before dinner and then gather around after to read, play games and keep warm. On weekends the fireplace will sometimes be lit from morning til night.
:: Wool. I love a winter wardrobe. I love layers, boots, vests, socks and sweaters. I couldn’t live without my wool toggle coat, a 40th birthday gift from my mama.
My slippers, socks and boots are all made from wool. I am always on the look out at the thrift store for 100 percent wool sweaters. They may be a bit itchy but they truly keep me the warmest. I only knit with wool and seek out the softer wools like merino and alpaca.
:: Soup. I’ve written here before about my love of soup. It is my all time favorite winter meal. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (no lie!) I make at least one pot of soup per week in the colder months and it’s a perfect way to enjoy the winter squashes and roots in our weekly winter CSA share.
:: Greens. I crave dark leafy greens all year long but particularly in the winter. Kale, spinach, tat soi, mache all make their way onto our plates in salads or sauteed with lots of garlic to ward off colds and flu.
:: Fresh flowers. Along with candles I also budget in fresh flowers each week in the winter time. They are worth every penny and bring me joy every time I look at them. There is always a bouquet on my dining table and one in the kitchen. I sometimes add fresh flowers into a arrangement on the mantle as well. I like to incorporate them with clippings from the yard. Right now they are mixed in with evergreens. Lately I have been drawn to ranunculus, tulips and eucalyptus.
:: Forced bulbs. You will always find pots of paperwhite and amarayliss bulbs placed throughout my home starting in December. The green growth is a hopeful reminder that spring will soon be here. I like to create little scenes within the pots of bulbs with glass mushrooms, miniature deer, pine cones and moss. In a month or two I will begin to force branches