Surviving The Winter Months Old-SchoolNovember 30, 2017
With its cold weather and long nights, the holiday season has continually been a time when families spend more evenings together, gathered around the warmth of the fire, finding ways to while away the hours.
Many traditional activities for this time of year also served a purpose for our forefathers: Baking helps heat the home; warming drinks and spices help bodies stay comfortable, and slowing down lets us rest and recharge as the year comes to an end.
Today, electric lights, televisions, computers, smartphones and video games make it easy to overcome the hardships of yesteryear. However, you might still find it healthful to honor this rhythm of nature’s cycle.
Many recipes, activities and DIY gift ideas during the holiday hearken to our shared human history. Not to mention that spending some quality time with loved ones while enjoying the traditional tastes, scents, and pastimes of the season make memories to last a lifetime.
‘Tis the season for the toasty, comforting scents and flavors of aromatic mulling spices. The hot drinks served up this time of year are immensely satisfying, and folks who live in cold, northern climates have been coming up with ways to serve spiced beverages for centuries.
Mulling spices work great with apple cider, wine or other festive drinks. Imagine combining spices with Mountain Dragon Mazery – Fine Honey Wine. Mead mulled with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice is a wintertime classic.
Another fun option is mead slushies. Think Black Cherry Red poured over freshly fallen snow. Bring on the white stuff!
An advent calendar is a fun and traditional way to make the whole holiday season exciting, as kids (or kids at heart!) get the joy of opening a small package each day of December leading up to the holiday.
However, this year, why not follow the Marion County ADVENTure Calendar. It’s 25 days of exclusive specials found only in our area.
Wreath making is an ancient art that began about 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. The wreath symbolizes the strength of life overcoming the forces of winter. In ancient Rome, people used wreaths as a sign of victory and celebration. The use of evergreens and wreaths as symbols of life was an ancient custom of the Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews, among other people.
The use of evergreens for Christmas wreaths probably arose in northern Europe, Italy and Spain in the early 19th century. In the early days in Europe, people put wreaths on their doors to identify their homes in the same manner house numbers are used today. Each house would have a unique wreath made of plants most likely grown by the homeowner.
Not into making your own? You can still deck the halls with wreaths and fresh pine arrangements found at the annual West Augusta Historical Society’s Greenery Bazaar. The bazaar is located in the log cabin behind the museum.
This season, why not make a wreath or pinecone bird feeder that will nourish avian friends that winter in north-central West Virginia. Find “recipes” here and here. Speedway Market carries a nice selection of bird seed and peanuts to complete your projects.
A favorite of young and old alike, hot chocolate is a must-have after a sledding or snowman-making session.
First Presbyterian Church sells fair-trade hot chocolate as well as coffee at Arts & Antiques Marketplace. Proceeds help fund their program that provides shoes to kids in need in Marion County.
Or maybe you would rather try a Joe n Throw Steamer. Instead of espresso, they add hot chocolate to their lattes. The flavor possibilities are endless.
Other favorite winter pastimes include crafts. If you are a sewer or quilter, you need to stop by Sew Chic. They carry an extensive supply of fabric and notions as well as packaged “recipes”.
Although, if you would rather spend your time snuggled up with a good book (or two), visit Kerri’s Korner Bookstore. You’ll want to stock up before the snow falls.
What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day?