The holiday season is coming to its final weeks and this means one and only one thing: The long winter ahead of us, which for much of the country will stretch well into March, April and in some cases, even May. While it may not be another polar vortex, or other wicked winter weather year, that doesn't mean that month of gray skies, dry air and chilly cold temperatures doesn't take a toll. By the time early 2015 rolls around, many of us are more than ready for the warmer months again.
But though it's not always possible to escape the winter season -- even a getaway somewhere warm in the midst doesn't chase it entirely away -- there are some great ways to brighten up the dark days and cold nights of this time of the year.
Once the holidays are put to bed and you've started taking down the decorations, consider doing a mini-update to your space. It doesn't have to be a huge overhaul or undertaking of giant proportions. Even just rearranging a few things can make your environment feel fresh and new. It's a great time to leverage accent items and little details to punch things up. A cozy throw or new coffee table book can do the trick. West Elm's Ivory Knitted Sequins throw (available in stores and online) weaves shimmery silver sequins into a thick knit that puts an instant bright spot to wherever it lands. Park a new ottoman in any room -- especially in a bright color -- for a pick-me-up addition. Online retailer Serena & Lily has a good mix for any taste, style or budget.
Of course it's the little things that are everything to the environment, so even just a pretty candle in a fresh scent can make a difference in taking the winter month's up a notch. LoveSpoon's an editor favorite for its soy candles in amazing fragrances. Go with a sweet floral like rose for a soft vibe, or grab the cotton scent for a fresh experience.
Beauty items can also play a huge part during the winter months. You should already have a really good moisturizer for the body, particularly if you're in cold, dry temperatures this time of year. But a great body scrub in a decadent scent or a fabulous body oil for the bath are also must-haves. Believe it or not, Whole Foods can be an amazing source for these types of items and often the products are natural, organic, cruelty-free, etc.
Food never fails to warm the heart and home, especially when it comes to home cooking. But you can cheat a little with pre-made items without skimping on that homemade experience. Trader Joe's is an ace for this type of stuff -- the mini frozen tacos in any combination are delicious. For more of an upgrade to a truly fresh made meal, keeping things healthy and whole is easier than ever. A big trend at the moment is to do interesting and unexpected things with items like rice and quinoa -- adding brown sugar, fresh fruits and other unique items and recipe treats. There are so many great startup, boutique and incredible new food companies on the market -- Mighty Rice, Justin's nut butters, Fork In The Road meats, etc. It's easier than ever to experiment.