Don’t let the predicted gray, rainy skies ruin your mood
It’s that time of year when many of us here in Santa Barbara turn our attention to creating a cozy home. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, winter temperatures will be near or cooler than normal in the area this year, with rainfall above normal. Whatever you do, don’t hibernate the winter away. Instead consider this: there is, indeed, joy to be found in the cooler, wetter, quieter months of the year.
Take the art of hygge, for example. That untranslatable Danish word refers to the feeling of being ultra-cozy and content, especially during the winter months. The thing is, Santa Barbara homeowners can learn a lot from the Danes who have the knowledge of what it takes to thrive in winter. After all, the Danes are considered the happiest people on earth. Most attribute their unseasonably sunny outlook to their epic home-and self-care habits.
When it’s cold and rainy out, you might take the easy route and binge watch your favorite show. Nothing wrong with that. But it can be a solitary activity. There are, however, several more satisfying alternatives that Santa Barbara residents can channel from the Danes’ wisdom. Here are 9 of my favorite ideas for creating a cozy home and taking the drab out of winter weather.
- Mood lighting
Candles in the winter are a key ingredient for creating an extremely comfortable atmosphere inside your Santa Barbara home. Besides providing beautiful, soft lighting, candles also add warmth and delicious scents to your space.
Tip: Choose seasonal scents like woods, fresh breezes, orchid, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, pine needles, patchouli, and freshly fallen leaves. Your entire house will smell like a fresh, crisp walk in the woods on a snowy December day.
- Bake some sweets
Home baked cake and sweets are central to the cozy experience. The fun begins when you shop for the ingredients. Head to your favorite market. Personally, I love the Lazy Acres Market in Santa Barbara. They have the best selection of natural and organic food in the area. While walking the aisles at Lazy Acres, choose your ingredients carefully. When you get home, use the art of mindfulness to mix them with great care, taking your time to enjoy the task at hand. The bonus is your baking will flood your home with delicious smells and tastes your family and friends will delight in.
Tip: Call a friend or family member to join in the baking fun. Cooking together makes for a lovely afternoon, no matter the weather.
- Never enough texture
Make your Santa Barbara home more inviting with plush throws, sheepskins, pillows, and cushions. Cover any surface in your home with luxurious fabrics and pillows and snuggle down with your loved one in front of the fire.
Tip: Consider faux. It’s just as fashionable as the real thing without harming precious animals.
- Make it a party
Fight the urge to retreat during the winter months. Instead, invite your friends and family over for an impromptu gathering. Creating a cozy home can include creating a cozy space for kids and a separate area for adults to hang out.
Tip: Consider adding an adult treehouse on your property. They’re the perfect adult hangout where you and your friends can unwind. Professional treehouse designers are building everything from breweries to recording studios in the trees.
- Popular board games
Bring everyone together for a night (or afternoon) of fun and games. Besides the usual Monopoly and Scrabble, check out the 13 best family board games to buy in 2018.
Tip: If you have long-distance friends and loved ones, check out the many gaming apps that you can play anywhere in the world. Plus, gaming apps are a great way to stay in touch all year long.
- Perfect your hot drink game
Besides the hot cocoa and apple cider, there are several festive drinks just waiting to be created in your kitchen. Many are holiday inspired.
Tip: You can make classic warm drinks competently enough, but why not create your own signature coffee drink this winter?
- Embrace the ancient art of layering
Allow the ancient art of layering to be your smart-technology thermostat this winter. This tried-and-true strategy lets you regulate comfort by slipping layers on and off as your activity level or the weather changes. Here’s what the layering experts recommend:
1) Base layer (underwear layer): wicks sweat off your skin
2) Middle layer (insulating layer): retains body heat to protect you from the cold
3) Outer layer (shell layer): shields you from wind and rain
Tip: Even if you don’t wear all three layers at the outset, it’s a good idea to take it all with you on every outing. You can’t add layers that you left behind.
- Curate your winter weather playlist
Calming music can take the winter edge off for anyone. Let music bring you back to a time where the sun was shining for more than just a few hours.
Tip: When in doubt about what to play, most online streaming music services have pre-made playlists, some of which you can filter by mood.
- Seasonal activities
There’s so much to do during the winter in and around Santa Barbara. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is visit the Santa Barbara Zoo for the Snow Leopard Festival. This year’s festival takes place on December 2 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Besides seeing these amazing creatures, kids can sled down the Zoo’s “mini-Himalayan” mountains.
Tip: Don’t miss the 66th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade taking place on December 7. This free event is a traditional, not-to-be-missed holiday extravaganza for locals and visitors alike.
The calming reassurance of a seasoned, knowledgeable, understanding and caring real estate professional can help home hunters and sellers through the winter months, too. If you’re looking to move to, or within Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com. I’ll happily add your listing to my portfolio of fine homes in the area and find your new dream home on the American Rivera. You can move in just in time for creating a cozy home in Santa Barbara!