I’ve always loved winter. I remember myself as a child, standing next to the window, my nose pressed against the cold glass, looking with wonder and awe at the snowflakes softly falling down, coating the world with a pristine white blanket.
I loved rain too. Playing in the rain, splashing in puddles, having so much fun then realizing how cold I am and going inside for a hot cup of chocolate. Really, life doesn’t get any better than that.
These days, as a grownup, I see the negative side of winter too – the cold weather, the slippery, congested roads, and the endless illnesses my kids seem to catch at school.
But despite all that, I still love the quiet intimacy that winter brings. Every winter, I try to make sure we don’t forget to enjoy some of these simple winter family pleasures:
1. Hot chocolate! This is a must. I don’t use cocoa powder. Instead, I melt a bar of dark chocolate (about 100 grams) over very low heat, gradually add 4 TBS sugar and 4 cups of whole milk, and continue heating while mixing well with a hand whisker. The result is sweet, creamy and absolutely delicious.
2. Snuggling together under a blanket while watching a family movie. On our movie nights, we replace dinner with popcorn and a treat. Needless to say, my kids love family movie nights!
3. Having an indoor picnic. If you take it seriously, this can be lots of fun. But you need to treat an indoor picnic just as you would treat a “real” picnic! Place a blanket on the floor and pack a picnic basket filled with classic picnic foods. Your kids will love having a picnic in the living room!
4. Long, lazy Sunday mornings. When it’s cold and damp outside, snuggling together in bed is so much fun. Even after getting out of bed we stay in our pajamas at least until noon and have a big breakfast of homemade pancakes, waffles, scones or biscuits.
5. Baking together is a wonderful winter family activity, as long as you remember to be patient and forget about “perfect” results. I used to have a hard time baking with my kids, because I expected the results to be perfect. Once I let go of my perfectionism, I became much less controlling (“mix GENTLY!”) and significantly better at allowing my kids to do most of the work – which made the entire experience so much more more fun for all of us.
Winter is your opportunity to stay indoors, spend time with your kids, go to bed early, and rest from a summer that was probably filled with activities and travel. Enjoy it! Before you know it, spring will be here, followed by another busy summer.
Author: Vered DeLeeuw