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10 Ways to Spark Joy this Winter

10 ways to spark joy this winterAs military families, we’re constantly on the move. You may be tired of your warm winter or waiting to get out of your cold winter.

But winter is just that – a season. It passes before you know it. Maybe we should try to find joy in the season, no matter the temperatures or conditions.

If you happen to be somewhere chilly like me, here are 10 ways to love and spark joy this winter while you wait for spring! 

 1. Get Hyyge.

The Danish concept of “hyyge” is to be cozy. Cozy in food, lighting, textiles, friendships- really, all things. I’ve been focusing on light and have filled our home with lights around the windows, “Happy” lights to help us get some rays and lots of twinkle lights in our decorating. Occasionally when I need a pick me up, I turn on ALL the lights and jam out to something, but usually, things are soft and cozy. 

winter northern lights with snow dogs

Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

2. Go see the Northern Lights.

I know this is something everyone can’t do in winter, but if you happen to be stationed at Eielson AFB, JBER in Anchorage, or Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, then you’ll have some great chances. The aurora views are spectacular. I have been able to see the lights dancing from my back porch. Locals I’ve talked to say it never gets old. 

3. Let the kids sleep a looooong time.

Maybe you’ve said, “When the sun goes to sleep, we go to sleep,” to your kids. While that doesn’t really work in the summer, winter can be a great time to get those kids in bed early and save yourself some sanity. You can’t guarantee they’ll sleep longer in the morning, but it might be worth a try on difficult days.

4. Get glimpses of some amazing sunrises.

Right now in Alaska, the sun rises at 10:30 am. It is gorgeous to behold and because it’s rising so late, more people get to see it. My daughter says she gets to watch it come up from the swing on her school playground. Does the sunrise come at different times in your corner of the world?

5. Marvel at holiday lights.

I love seeing holiday lights as we drive through our neighborhood and town. My girls love to count all the homes lit up and see what unique decorations people have. Around our area, people keep them up for at least New Years or longer! 

6. Try a new hobby.

Some of the happiest people in the winter seem to be people who do winter sports. We’ve found ice skating, snowboarding, skiing, hockey, sledding, snowshoeing, dog mushing…the list goes on! This winter my daughter will start ice-skating lessons. A friend local to Alaska told me, “Once they can walk, they can skate!” 

7. View ice art.

With temperatures staying well below freezing for much of the winter, we have the opportunity to watch world-class ice carving. It’s amazing! I’m in awe of how the artists craft such delicate pieces with chainsaws and all their snow gear on! 

winter gloves around hot drink

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

8. Sip some warm drinks.

I am finally starting to enjoy tea. I don’t know if it’s because my taste buds are dying or what, but I find that I enjoy sipping it in the morning and sometimes before bed to unwind.  Drink your coffee, your hot chocolate, or whatever you prefer. Keep it warm and keep it coming!

9. Layers upon layers of clothing.

After 8 years in Texas, I hardly had a cardigan or warm beanie to my name. No more! I can regularly be seen on Facetime in a hat, cozy sweater, or boots with the fur. In the South, it was a game to see how little you could to wear in the summer to stay cool; here I’m playing the game in reverse. I’m enjoying warm socks, thick scarves, and all the soft textiles keeping me warm this winter. You should too!

10. Go to ALL the things.

I don’t mean you should overextend yourself! But try new things and things to get out of the house. Look at Facebook events; find a community concert; try a new library. Find something to keep you out of a winter funk!

It’s a balance enjoying cozy time inside, staying active, and enjoying your community, and we’re trying to find what works for us. In this young child stage, we’re good for one big activity or maybe two activities if they’re small and we can still sneak a nap in. Sometimes we epically fail and pay greatly for all the fun we had in tears/fits. But in the long run, the adventures are worth it. 

For most of us, winter is cold, long, and dark.

But that doesn’t have to mean that it is dreadful. Find the positive aspects of winter in your area. Try something new. Or snuggle in for the winter with your family and your favorite surroundings. Whatever you choose, I know you can find ways to spark joy this winter – wherever you may be stationed.

What are your favorite winter activities or traditions? Share with us!

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