We’re Canadian, so it’s practically un-patriotic not to have an opinion about winter. And, well, most of us love to hate it—the slush, the dark, the cold, the driving, the 45 layers of bundling, and just how long it seems between autumn and spring.
But you know what? Winter’s actually the best. And here’s why.
1. We get our national character from the cold weather
GiIles Vigneault’s classic song “Mon pays” pretty much says it all: “Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver.” (For those of you whose French is rusty, that’s “My country isn’t a country, it’s winter.”) Canadians are resolute, prone to be stoic in the face of discomfort (wet, slushy boots, for example), and resourceful in tough circumstances (we did invent the snowmobile, after all). Plus, we’re always happy to gather somewhere warm with friends and family. Without winter, we wouldn’t be who we are.
2. You make more art
Being cooped up all winter tends to either drive you crazy or sparks the creative spirit (or maybe a little bit of both). Something about not being able to do anything else is a great motivator to get artsy—whether that’s knitting, painting, woodwork, or scrapbooking. Plus, winter is a great subject. From A.J. Casson’s “Winter in the Village” to Cornelius Krieghoff’s “Settler’s Log House”, Canadian art history is filled with winter scenes.
3. Staying cosy is a lot of fun
Cosy is one of life’s great feelings, and you can really only experience it in winter. The Danish even have a word for it: hyygge. (It sounds a little like “hug,” which is also nice and cosy.) Whether you choose to stay cosy with a crackling fire, a mug of tea, or with a hot tub under a sky full of chilly stars, making the best of winter indoors is tons of fun.
4. Sticking it to winter and getting outside anyway is also a lot of fun
Those who love winter say there’s no such thing as bad weather—just poor clothing choices. Invest in some great boots, a nice warm (and windproof/waterproof) coat, and whatever else you need, and get outside. Go for a walk, grab your skates and take a twirl around a local rink (or a frozen lake), tromp around on some snowshoes—winter isn’t nearly as terrible if you make the effort to ramp up your sunshine.
5. You get a chance to try out new recipes
Soups, stews, chicken and dumplings, carbs of all kinds—winter comfort food is simply the best. Plus, when you’re stuck inside, what’s a better activity than happily puttering around in the kitchen? Pull out those recipes you’ve always wanted to try and stuff your family full of yummy nummies.
6. Big fluffy blankets
Whether you go for old-school down or high-tech fleece, cuddling down into a sea of softness when it’s chilly is the best way to sink into a relaxing sleep. In fact, the suggested ideal bedroom temperature for a good night’s sleep is a cool 18 degrees—making that nice cosy quilt seem extra warm and lovely.
7. Warm drinks
Sure, you might drink coffee or tea all year ‘round, but warm drinks are especially lovely when it’s chilly outside. Along with the usual suspects—coffee, tea and hot chocolate—consider trying a warm cocktail instead of your usual glass of merlot. If you need some inspiration, here are some to try, both alcoholic and not.
8. No guilt
Winter is gloriously guilt-free. Gained a little weight? Cover it up with bulky winter wear! Not feeling like going to the gym? It’s too cold to go outside anyway. Want to stay in your jammies all day? They’re probably nice and warm, so go for it. Feel like taking an all-day bubble bath or 20-minute shower? Go for it.
9. Catch up on TV
If you’re got a Netflix queue that goes around the block, winter is the ideal time to get some serious TV and movie watching done. There’s nothing better than a binge-watch when there’s nothing else you’re able to do (because, you know, cold). Even better? Grab a warm blanket and some snacks (and a warm cocktail never went amiss).
10. Escaping winter feels awesome
If you just can’t stand it, the feeling of escaping winter for somewhere lovely and tropical is hard to beat. Remembering what it’s like not to wear socks—especially when you know everyone back at home is shovelling out from a blizzard—is a glorious feeling.