As much as we're excited for Christmas, the festive period is just one small part of the winter season. Technically, it begins in November and lasts until the end of February, when we might just be lucky enough to see the first signs of spring.
Once you're done with the Christmas and New Year celebrations, spring can still seem like a long way off, and with cold days and long dark nights, the winter blues can easily begin to settle in.
But if you've got a few things to look forward to during the season, you can turn it into an enjoyable time of year despite the harsh weather. With this in mind, we've compiled a mini bucket list of ten activities we think everyone should do during the winter months - some are silly (but still necessary) and some are vital to treat yourself to some self-care. You could even treat this like a bingo card and tick them off as you go!
1. Go ice-skating
Ice-skating is a lot of fun, even if you're not very good at it. This is the only time of year that you can really go skating outside, so take advantage of the opportunity while you can. All the family will enjoy this activity and it's a great way to make sure everyone's getting in some winter exercise, instead of simply sitting on the sofa in front of the fire.
Use our sweet-smelling Neroli & Rose Hand Cream before you head to the rink to help protect your hands from the cold. If it's an outdoor rink that's exposed to the elements as well as the ice, your hands could become dry and sore without this little bit of extra help.
2. Bake gingerbread men
The smell of warm gingerbread fresh out of the oven is incredibly nostalgic. Baking gingerbread men is such a fun way to pass an hour or two on a cold winter's afternoon and you'll have a great time decorating them to look like your family members or famous people.
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You don't have to be an expert with a piping bag to draw a pair of glasses and a lightning-shaped scar for a gingerbread Harry Potter, or add some white 'curls' and a little crown for The Queen.
3. Join the 'one cold hand club'
Losing one glove is sadly an inevitable part of winter. Having one cold hand is no fun, but even if you take the extreme step of tying your gloves together with string and threading them through your coat, somehow one will always go missing. Just remember to look after that one cold hand with a Hand Lotion to keep it moisturised and smooth despite the weather.
4. Eat your weight in cheese
Mild cheese, mature cheese, cheese with onion and chives, cheese with port, cheese with garlic, cheese with truffle oil - you can even now get cheese that features gin. Whether you're filling your face with samples at the Christmas markets in the run-up to Christmas or working your way through seemingly never-ending boxes of biscuits for cheese after the big day, eating cheese is a big part of winter.
There are now plenty of vegan cheese options and dairy-free versions too, so no one has to be left out of the seasonal cheese-eating. Just remember, everything in moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
5. Spend so long in the bath your skin goes wrinkly
When you've come inside from a cold day outdoors, there's nothing better than a steaming hot bath. Light a candle, cleanse your skin with a handmade soap bar packed with natural ingredients and beautifully fragrant essential oils and finish off by exfoliating with a natural body scrub. Heyland & Whittle's Body Scrubs are made from salt granules and bamboo instead of synthetic microbeads, so they won't cause any damage to the environment. You can only get out of the bath when your skin is wrinkled and prune-like, that's the rule.
6. Consider seeking a divorce over a board game
Sulking over the outcome of a board game is not just for kids. The prospect of spending an evening indoors playing Monopoly or Scrabble seems like a lovely, cosy way to pass a few hours, but that can soon change when your partner puts 'zebra' on a triple word score or buys Park Lane and Mayfair on their first trip around the board.
A row over a board game is a traditional part of the festive season for many families - just don't sulk (outwardly) for too long.
7. Pretend to like prosecco
Stockpiling prosecco has become a traditional part of the Christmas festivities and you're bound to find yourself being offered a glass or three of fizz over the party season. But you can remember never having heard of prosecco only about five years ago and secretly you prefer non-sparkling white wine.
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The sweet grape scent of prosecco is undeniably lovely though and you can fill your home with it thanks to our Clementine & Prosecco Reed Diffuser - enjoy its aroma while sipping on a tipple you actually like.
8. Do a good deed for someone who's worse off
Vulnerable people need help and support all year round, but the winter months can be a particularly tricky time, with homeless people having to battle harsh weather conditions and families on low incomes struggling to feed their children during the school holidays.
If you're able to give, think about gathering up some tinned goods and non-perishable items like pasta and rice to donate to your local food bank, find out if there's a charity near you that's collecting unwanted winter coats for the homeless or volunteer your time in a soup kitchen or to help keep an older person company while the weather is too bad for them to get out and about.
9. Spend an entire day under the duvet
Sometimes, a duvet day is the only answer. Spending an entire day in your pyjamas under the duvet (aside from getting up to make food and trips to the bathroom) is necessary from time to time.
Get a stack of DVDs ready to watch or line up a few series on your Netflix, have snacks to hand, dim the lights and light our Sandalwood & Oud Candle to bring a warm, cosy fragrance to your home, adding to the snug feeling.
10. Go on (and give up on) a new diet
Post-Christmas, embarking on a new diet is traditional - as is giving up on it just a few days later. January isn't necessarily the best time for a complete lifestyle overhaul and salads aren't the most appealing to tuck into when it's freezing outside.
Instead, for better results, commit yourself to following a balanced diet with a little bit of everything - even chocolate - and make use of your slow cooker so that you've got lovely, warming stews packed with lean meat and vegetables to come home to after a long, cold day.
This winter, remember to make time for self-care and pampering, as well as for those less fortunate than yourself to help keep the winter blues at bay.