Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

January 29, 2018

My Top Tips for Staying Cozy this Winter

This post is sponsored by Save on Energy, Ontario's go-to source for energy efficiency information and rebates for your home.  All thoughts and opinions presented below are my own.  


The staggering popularity of "Hygge" (pronounced "hoo-gah") speaks volumes about our collective desire to feel cozy and content.  But the Danish aren't the only people who crave cozy - many languages have similar concepts and words that try to capture that elusive feeling.

Swedes offer up "Mys," which touches on coziness and comfort with an emphasis on slowing down and relaxing, while in Norway people strive for a "Koselig" days, which has a complex meaning, but conjures feelings of warmth, comfort, and relaxation.  Those in Holland long for "Gezelig" - the mood of feeling cocooned, like being in a warm coffee shop on a cold winter day.  Having married a fella with Scottish ancestry, I personally enjoy the Gaelic "C√≤sagach" (which means snug), simply because it sounds the heartiest. 
 
However you choose to describe it, it's unsurprising that so many of us crave coziness and contentment - especially in the winter.  I've spent my entire life living in Ontario, Canada.  That is the equivalent of 33 winters spent trying to stay warm.  In the very first apartment I shared with Hubby, I was warm - for the first winter in my entire life.  We didn't have to pay for heat, so I kept the thermostat at an irresponsibility tropical temperature.  Our hibiscus thrived - a clear sign that it was way too hot in there.  Since then, adulthood, utility bills and environmental consciousness have superseded tropical indoor temperatures, so I have had to get creative.  What hygge, koselig, and c√≤sagach have all taught me is that staying cozy is a crafty combination of practical changes and mental shifts to fully capture that feeling of coziness and warmth. 

Here are my favorite lakehouse-tested tips for staying cozy - even when the weather network issues an Extreme Cold Weather warning and there's a blizzard roaring outside.

Let the Window Coverings do the Work

As soon as the sun rises, I open the curtains and blinds to capitalize on the heat from the sun, but once the sun sets, I close the curtains again to keep in as much heat.  Insulated curtains would be amazing, but the substantial tweed drapes in the bedroom and office do the trick.


Check Weather Stripping and Window Seals

Having a woolly dog is a great way to see where you're losing heat - just check out their favorite spots!  Can you guess where the cold spots are in the lakehouse?

 
By ensuring that weather stripping and window seals are in great shape, you can prevent as much heat from leaking out as possible.  No pup to help?  Hold a candle, as still as possible, near any doorways or windows - if it flickers, you might have some drafty spots to seal up.

Indulge in Hot Apple Cider - No Holiday Required

This fall was the first time I had ever made hot apple cider - seriously!  We had friends over for one last bonfire and because it was already getting pretty chilly, I just couldn't envision wanting a cold beer so I made hot apple cider in the slow cooker.  I made it without alcohol (because alcohol actually drops core body temperature), but kept some handy so guests could spike their own.  It was a magical night - we even saw the northern lights! - and it made me realize that I don't need a special occasion to make cider, which always felt so much like a "holiday" drink to me.  You can make hot apple cider from scratch, but you can also buy apple cider in jugs and then spice to taste.


Easy Slow Cooker Hot Apple Cider
  • 1 gallon apple cider or fresh pressed apple juice
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 sliced oranges (wash first)
  • A few 1" pieces of ginger, peeled and quartered
Add ingredients to a slow cooker and simmer on low for four hours.  You can also bundle the spices in cheesecloth or a tea bag designed for loose leaf tea, but I find the flavor is richer when the spices are loose - just strain as you serve and add rum to taste, if desired.

Invest in a Humidifier

Humidifiers are a fabulous addition to a home, for so many reasons: they can help plants thrive, ease sinus congestion, and re-hydrate the air - which means you can say goodbye to static and cracked skin.  But adding humidity to the air can also help a home feel warmer.  Not convinced?  After your next bath let the water sit, with the bathroom door open, and see if that little amount of moisture helps you feel warmer... 

Throw a Party

You can turn down the heat when you have friends and family over because body heat does wonders to increase the overall temperature in a room.  So, if you have the winter blues and just can't warm up, throw a potluck party or have friends over for some board games - bonus points for something that gets everyone excited and moving, like charades or twister!


Turn on That Ceiling Fan

It still feels counter-intuitive to me to turn on a ceiling fan in the winter, but heat rises so a ceiling fan - especially with our tall living room ceiling - helps push that warm air back down, where we can enjoy it.  The important thing to remember is that when ceiling fans spin counter-clockwise, the angled blades push cool air down, so in the winter set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise instead, which will draw the cool air up to the ceiling and force the warm air back down.  Some ceiling fans even have a "winter" setting.


Layer up Your Decor

I've never been a huge fan of seasonal decor because I'd rather spend money on permanent pieces, but I have to admit that this time of year I can totally understand layering in cozier textiles, like faux fur blankets, or maybe rolling out a cozy wool rug underfoot.  If a few decor touches help a home feel cozier, it's worth it!  Just make sure that no new additions (especially rugs) cover up any vents.


Hopefully these tricks help you feel cozier this winter - without reaching for that thermostat!  Nothing makes winter drearier than getting slammed with a massive heating bill.

If you're looking for more ideas to help make your home feel cozier, while also saving money on your monthly bills and supporting your community, visit www.saveonenergy.ca.  You'll discover new technologies, incentives, and tips for increasing your home's energy efficiency, as well as learning about how these changes can make a positive impact on your home's comfort and resale value.  I am always grateful for any information that helps save me money and feel more at home in my house, so I hope you'll find some great ideas!


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