Winter may not be everyone’s favorite season, but it’s full of wonder. Cooling temperatures put us in a hygge state of mind. A hearty warm bowl of soup in the dead of winter leaves us with full stomachs and a house that smells divine. Early sunsets create long evenings that are the perfect opportunity to enjoy a lengthy board game or a good book with a bowl of popcorn.
This year, we both felt so inspired by the idea of intentionally recapturing the wonder of the season, thanks to the beautiful winter issue of the Magnolia Journal. We don’t want to look back after we’ve arrived in 2018 and realize that we got completely bogged down by all the “fun” of the holidays. ⠀
We’ve made it our goal to learn how to see everyday miracles and discover wonder in the mundane. Inspired by Joanna’s creative list for a “Winter of Wonder,” we came up with some ways to rediscover the magic in our everyday life this month.
1. Do Small (and big) Acts of Kindness
Just like many tiny snowflakes gently flutter down from the skies to create a soft sea of white that covers the earth in a perfect, sparkling blanket — small acts of kindness generate a warm impact of love that just keeps growing. ⠀
Recently I was the recipient of a really sweet act of kindness. Regina surprised me by sending me a clever gift — two metallic finished fox ornaments. ⠀
It was clever because it will be a way for me to remember the year that Fox Business featured Urban Southern — which has changed everything for our company already! ⠀
IDEAS FOR ACTS OF KINDNESS
° Take time to acknowledge someone in your life and let them know that you see their efforts. I promise you that it will make a difference in their life — to know that they are seen and appreciated.
° Send a creative care package to someone — include paints and an art journal in it. ⠀
° Buy groceries or coffee for the person behind you.⠀
° Offer to snap a photo of a couple.⠀
° Order a meaningful ornament on Etsy for a friend. (I recently had coffee with a Denver-based artist, Bhnaz Ahmadian. She gifted me with one of her beautiful, hand painted ornaments. I fell in love with her work! — Find her on Etsy.)
° Let someone go in front of you in line.⠀
° Give a stranger a compliment.⠀
° Write a love letter to a stranger during the 12-day letter writing challenge with MORELOVELETTERS.⠀
° Babysit for free so a couple or a parent can enjoy an evening out. ⠀
° Bring in treats for your coworkers. ⠀
° Leave a letter of encouragement on a stranger’s car.⠀
° Instead of posting negativity online, spread some cheer.
° Invite a new friend over for a home-cooked meal. ⠀
° Send a funny meme to a family member or friend and share a good laugh together.
Do you have any ideas to add or stories to share? We’d love to hear them!
2. Make Popcorn and Read a Good Book
Playing in the woods was our entertainment in the summertime when we were girls. In the winter months, we read books and went sledding whenever it snowed.
There is still hardly anything better than curling up with a bowl of popcorn and a good book on a long, quiet evening.
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.⠀
–Laura Ingalls Wilder⠀
3. Go on a Surprise Outing
We had to borrow this one from Joanna because we just loved it so much. Do this even if you aren’t married or don’t have kids!
Put the kids to bed and wait a few minutes. Yell “just kidding!” and have everyone pile into the car with pj’s on to drive to the best-lit neighborhoods ablaze in Christmas spirit. A thermos of cocoa never hurts on such an occasion. —Joanna Gaines
4. Make Something Sweet Together
There’s just something wonderful about making and sharing sweet things together.
When we were growing up, Regina and I would get together to make homemade candy for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We made buckeyes, slow-cooked caramels, cream cheese mints, chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate pecan toffee, fudge, peanut brittle, and more. We ate almost as many as we made.
When we got older, it was common for our families or a group of young people to get together and pull taffy for the evening. Finding the right rhythm of pulling and swapping the ends of a thick thread of taffy between our buttered palms was as close to dancing as we ever got. We pulled the taffy until it turned almost white before pulling it into one long, sticky strand then cut it into bite-sized pieces with scissors and wrapping them up.
It was always fun to deliver our pretty plates of candies and cookies to our friends and neighbors.
When nothing’s going right, when the budget is tight, when you feel like you’re pulled in 100 different directions by to-do lists and christmas party invitations, when the holidays remind you of the painful losses of those you love, when the end of the year looks gloomy instead of bright, we hope you feel inspired to put a little wonder into your day and the life of those around you.