10 Things to Love About Winter

If you’re anything like me, you’re all too familiar with the pre-winter dread that occurs right around the end of Daylight Savings Time. The trees start to shed their bounty of boldly colored leaves, the trick-or-treaters come and go, and all of a sudden, it’s dark at 5:00 p.m. I find myself contemplating whether I can survive another Iowa winter (I’m going on number nine!).

But as dreary and cold as it can be, winter has its own particular beauty and charm. It’s all about relishing the small, simple moments and cozy pleasures the season affords. So, in an attempt to turn those chilly-weather woes around, here’s a list (in no particular order) of 10 things to love about winter.

1. Nighttime Beauty

There’s nothing more gorgeous than looking up at the vast array of stars on those cold, clear nights when you can see your breath swirl into the black sky like smoke. When the moon glows onto snow-covered yards, it’s easy to get lost in the star-studded expanse above—especially now, when the night sky is at its most stunning.

2. The Morning after a Fresh Snow

As beautiful as winter nights can be, the mornings after a snowfall are equally as sublime: waking up to intricate snow-flakes imprinted on the windowpanes; stepping outside to check out the  snowdrifts glittering in the sun, unmarred save for the occasional deer track; scooping up a palmful of fresh snow to savor.

3. Reading by the Fire

Nothing’s cozier than sitting in front of the fire with a good book. Grab a snuggle-worthy blanket, corral your feline and canine companions, and plop down into a big armchair with a favorite novel. The fire’s crackling noises, toe-curling warmth, and deliciously rustic smell provide the perfect ambiance for getting lost in literary reveries.

4. Sheepskin Slippers

Slipping your feet into cushy, insulating sheepskin first thing in the morning is a divine start to any chilly day. Bonus: If you work at home, you never have to take them off!

5. Football Galore

The NFL season, culminating in the Super Bowl in February, provides endless hours of winter entertainment. Gather your sports-loving pals, grab a few six-packs of some craft beers none of you have tried before, and devour pizza as you yell at the TV and celebrate what many sports writers are now calling America’s favorite pastime. (Sorry, baseball—you’ve got competition.)

6. Sweaters, Scarves, and  All Things Knit

Now’s the time to bust out all your favorite cold-weather fashions. Cozy cable-knit sweaters, cashmere scarves, legwarmers tucked into boots, quirky-cool fingerless mittens. Aim for making the bundled-up-as-a-polar-bear look as chic as possible.

7. Netflix Hibernation

Don’t pretend you’re not familiar with the concept. You know, spending a blizzardy afternoon (or entire morning, day, and night—we’re not judging) watching an entire season of your favorite TV show? Yeah. It’s pretty much the best waste of time ever.

8. Seasonal Treats

Piping hot chocolate, pumpkin spice lattes, hot apple cider, rum-laden eggnog—what would winter be without these luscious libations? And let’s not forget about all the yummy food that accompanies the season, like latkes, turkey and stuffing, endless potato dishes, peppermint bark, and pfeffernüsse.

9. Outdoor Sports

If you’re a skier, snowboarder, or ice skater, winter gives you endless opportunities to hone your craft. And if, like me, you do none of those things, there are still plenty of ways to get outside to get the blood flowing, with sledding, snowball fights, and snow-angel-making topping the list. If you’re determined to stay indoors all winter long, you can opt to live vicariously through the athletes of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Watching skiers take on the Super-G never gets old!

10. Spring is on its Way

Okay, so this is sort of cheating. But, hey, if your coping mechanism is reminding yourself daily that spring is just around the corner, so be it. I’m right there with you. But with all the cozy comforts and natural beauty of winter to appreciate, you may just find yourself with a new favorite season.