There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. ~ Ruth Stout

Winter in Vlaardingen
Winter in Vlaardingen

Much is said about winter which, in more ways than one, are not very positive. Cold. Dark. Gray. Depressive. Sometimes even freezing. Like today and the days to come here in the Netherlands. This morning, it was -3 or -4 degrees celsius, depending on which area you live in. My hands were freezing inside my leather gloves. Luckily, I had muts on. Otherwise, I will have no ears at the time of this writing.

But just like any other dark and gloomy situation, I’d say there are still many things to look forward to in the winter. Here in the Netherlands, I wait the whole year round for winter food — erwtensoep and boerenkoolstampot for that matter. My colleagues cannot understand this, but maybe it helps to know that my husband makes the best erwtensoep in town. To which I have been treated since yesterday. ­čśÇ

More than that, you might want to ask, what is there to love, or like, about the winter? Here are the things that I can think of. You are welcome to add your thoughts:

  1. Hot chocolate. There is no better time to enjoy hot cocoa than in the winter. After a freezing walk, for instance, when you almost can’t feel your hands anymore. Putting your hands around a warm cup of sweet-smelling hot cocoa is the best way to cap the day, or night.

  2. Hot soup. This brings about good feelings like the hot cocoa. Not only to freezing hands, but also to hungry bellies. And I maintain, erwtensoep is the way to go! Hot soup is not as delicious in the summer as it is in the winter.

Out in the snow
Out in the snow
  1. Winter fashion. Ahhh… I wouldn’t say that I am the best example of winter fashion. Most of the time, I just make sure that I keep warm. But winter is also a reason to buy new sweaters or earmuffs or toesocks. Whatever is in. Because when it gets really cold, you have to wear them all anyway. Layering is the key. Today, I have three layers of clothing. But there were women in the area where I work who still managed to stand in the -3 degrees celsius bus station in short skirts and pantyhose. Definitely a challenge. To both my fashion sense and my ability to grow thicker skin. (Can that be considered a skill?)

  2. Candles. These cozy little stuff out of wax make the long dark days look so warm and romantic. So it is the best time to stock up on these. Lighting up some candles during dinner make the dinner instant romantic too, whatever you’re serving.

  3. Heater. Our best friend during the winter. We do not have central heating but a cozy gas heater instead. When the temperatures hit all-time-lows during winter, we are proud to turn this on. Because it’s just well, word for the day, cozy. Of course, you can’t imagine turning on the heat in the summer, can you? So I’m just saying, it is an opportunity!

  4. Bird feeders. What can I say? They’re just fun. It also gives man the opportunity to take care of the other creatures in the planet. During the winter, birds have a hard time finding food. So we place bird feeders (with feed!) outside to provide for them. It is so beautiful to see them feeding in the balcony. Although they can eat a lot. So be prepared to have enough.

  5. Snow. We are awaiting snow this week. I can just imagine the first snowfall. (singing in my head: the first snowfall of the winter…) These fluffy things can turn the country so white and beautiful! But it can also be so problematic with the public transport system, the train rails getting clogged and snowy. But, who cares?! It’s all white and beautiful!

  6. The luxury to be lazy or depressed. Winter days are so cold and short. So if someone is lazy or depressed, people easily come up with an explanation — winter depression. This gives one an easy way out. So if you just broke up with someone, you don’t have to make up explanations, just blame it to winter depression!

  7. More reasons to embrace each other. It’s cold! So what more do we do? Cuddle up and get cozy!

  8. The holidays. Oh yes, the holidays. Free days. Christmas. New year. Singing songs. Listening to the christmas songs of the Carpenters. Putting up the trimmings. Exchanging gifts. We all celebrate these during the winter. And isn’t that just fun?

Ahhh… winter. The old man/woman of all the seasons. Dark, long, chilly days. It makes one romanticize things but also lets one savor a bad mood. It is the season when there is not much to do and there is not much blooming going in. It is also the season that reminds us of infertility.

But do not forget, winter is also the season that paves the way to spring. Without winter, spring will not be as beautiful and appreciated. #