a few of my favorite things: 10 winter essentials

Okay, so it isn’t technically ‘winter’ yet, but let’s face it. It’s December. It’s dark. It’s freezing. It’s frosting. It’s winter.


I’ve always loved this season, but have discovered that with age comes a distinct dislike of all things cold. The days are short. The trees are bare. The mornings are frigid. Help!

Daily life can adjust drastically between seasons. Here are some of my essentials to get through a dark, cold winter in fairly chipper spirit.

1. Tea. It’s great all year, but it’s extra necessary now. At least two cups a day—green or matcha in the morning, chamomile or other herbals at night.

2. Books upon books upon books. Get that library card if you haven’t already. Some of my favorite recent reads: The Desire Map; Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking; The Architecture of Happiness; A Room of One’s Own.

3. A good friend. Fun summer weekend adventures turn into long winter discussions over dinners in diners. Or pubs.

4. Oil & lotion. Yup I got some, super dry, itchy skin, like the rest of ya. Been getting into this Aura Cacia Grapeseed Oil this year. I also enjoy this EveryDay Coconut body lotion, which was founded by a Togolese native as a way to generate funds to help community projects in his home country and other West African nations to reduce poverty and gender inequality. Moisturizer with a conscience!

5. Water. Drink up. I know this is super hard to believe, but as the air gets drier, we need more fluids to stay hydrated. I like to slip a dash of organic cherry or lemon juice in my glasses to keep it fresh.

6. Indoor workouts. Some (crazy) people will run outside all winter. I can’t do it. So, take it indoors: yoga; workout DVDs; Youtube fitness stars; Groupon & Living Social deals; etc.

7. A morning routine. Maybe it’s always healthy to have one, but it feels even more essential in winter. Wake up early, with the sun, and start your day right. Mine typically goes (starting at 6:30 AM): 1) Water 2) Get moving—200 ab crunches, 30 push ups, 3 sun salutations, whatever else feels good 3) Read 4) Reflect/meditate 5) BAM. Ready for the day. Now get pretty.

8. A new initiative. Whatever you’re passionate about. Whatever you feel is calling you at this moment. Maybe it’s organizing a volunteer event. Or consulting on the side of your day job. Or starting a blog (hey, do it, and tell me!). Or taking that philosophy class you’ve been meaning to.

9. Candles. I know it’s not the most eco-conscious thing you can do, but I love ‘em. I typically buy soy candles, but I just read that there can be some unstated downfalls even to those labeled ‘pure soy.’ Your best bet is a pure beeswax candle, which can actually do some pretty cool things for your health. Read about it here.

10. A fun trip. Hey. Yeah, you. Get outta town! I’m sneaking off via train for Boston this week, and it’ll be a much-needed change of scenery. It doesn’t have to be far, just go! Explore. See something new. Meet some peeps. Leave the car at home and train or bus it up.

P.S. Cats always help.

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    • athriftyhippie

      I was a bit sad to hear about the soy candles. :( Beeswax ones are so expensive, but I’ve also heard they last longer—and they’re worth the extra, I suppose! Thanks for reading and sharing, Sandra. :)

  1. Lois Field

    I recently made a purchase of soy tea light candles, so not real thrilled to hear the negative reports. I’m like you, hate the cold the older I get. I spent last week out of town and it was refreshing, enjoy your time in Boston.

    • athriftyhippie

      Thanks, Lois! I don’t think ALL soy candles are necessarily harmful, but I think it’s tough to tell what’s the real deal or not. Beeswax seems like the best way to go. Good to know for the future! Keep warm and thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Paula

    Very cute and true statements! Will take you up on those i have not included in this season!
    Just curious: what are those red sugary looking truffles on one of your pictures?

    • athriftyhippie

      Vishnu, hi! Yes, there’s always room for hot chocolate in winter. Good point. 200 crunches may sound like a lot, but it’s just right. I like the split them into sets of 25 with different variations (regular crunches, legs up crunches, bicycles, etc.). It goes fast and is a great start to the day. Thanks for reading! :)

  3. Carrie

    I love this article so very much. I can tell you now that I will certainly be rereading it for inspiration. I actually did just start a blog about a week ago I guess so I appreciated that suggestion a lot. Here’s the link: http://cheaptherapy14.blogspot.com/ Thanks again for the fab article! I am going to go make some tea right now!

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