The start of the cold months is always enticing: jack-o'-lanterns, leaves changing color, and those bright and crisp autumnal days.
Next come the festive cookies and jovial meals shared with family; the holiday songs warming our hearts; the pumpkin spice and eggnog lattes galore. Cozy nights by an open fire, roasting chestnuts and what have you.
Then the big ball falls, welcoming us into a new year with glitter and sparkles and midnight kisses.
And then it’s over.
And it’s just cold and windy and endlessly wintry.
So how do we beat those post-holiday blues? What do we do when our excitement about New Year’s resolutions wane and the cold settles in?
1. Embrace the cold.
Put on warm layers, grab a thermos of hot cocoa and take yourself out into the crisp day. Go puddle-splashing! Nothing beats sloshing through puddles without a care in the world. Try some of these awesome backyard activities that are made for rainy days.
2. Get to know your neighborhood better.
You're never too old (or too young) to learn about the things that make up your neighborhood — whether that's getting to know your actual neighbors, finding your local "little library" or meandering nearby streets and trails. Better yet, head out on foot and identify the trees, plants and birds that are all around you! You'll be all the more delighted once spring comes, watching plants you now know come to life.
3. Repurpose old traditions.
S’mores aren’t only for summer nights around a campfire. Make them in your fireplace, or over a candle at the dinner table.
4. Explore local gardens.
5. Treat yourself to a midday movie.
Watching movies is never as much fun on warm sunny days when you’d rather be outside.
6. Don’t put away those holiday lights just yet.
Instead of letting them gather dust in the basement until next year, create a fort and use lights to make it extra cozy on particularly cold or snowy days.
7. Make a special meal.
We don’t have to save those special recipes for the holiday season: Pick one or two of your faves, and get cooking with friends and family to continue the cheer of the season. Try some of these delicious recipes that will take you on a virtual getaway.
8. If you had a Christmas tree and aren’t quite ready to part with it, turn it into a mini bird sanctuary.
Create bird- and squirrel-friendly tree ornaments (e.g., peanut butter and bird seed adhered to pinecones) to adorn the tree and leave it in the back yard for the local wildlife to enjoy. Little ones especially love to watch the animals snack! Get a bird book from the library and try to identify all the birds in your back yard.
9. Stock up on post-holiday sale items.
A little retail therapy can go a long way (especially the 50 percent off variety).
10. Get together with those you love.
Spend time hanging out with your kids, your spouse, your friends and/or your pet. Winter is a perfect time to enjoy the lull, slow your pace and hunker down with a cup of tea for a good chat over Zoom or during a walk outside.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2018 and updated for 2021.