What Is Your Favorite Part of Winter?

By: Jen Shoop

I was struck last week by the title of this post on Cup of Jo: “My Favorite Part of Winter Is Making My Dad’s Meatloaf.”

Winter gets a bad rap, and I’m contributing to that zeitgeist with all of my laments for spring and celebrations of the pilgrim crocus. But winter has its own sparse appeal and bare-faced charms. What, I wondered, was my favorite part of winter?

Christmas came to mind first: its merriment and hygge. But what of the long, plodding months of January and February? And was there something specific, or shapely, I could trot out in response?

Instead of one, a few splintered out:

The first bracing breath when I step outside — medicinal.

Soft cotton base layers hugging the skin.

Standing on our covered porch, looking out at the snow-capped arbor vitae, whose fronds dance even in somber times.

Warmed, socked feet by the fire.

The perseverance of stick figure trees against the austerities of wind and ice.

The understanding that things must end to begin again.

What are your favorite parts of the season? (Let’s find reasons to celebrate this moment we’re in!)


+Took the photo above back when we lived in NY and were visiting the Guggenheim on a snowy weekend.

+You can change at any time, and with nobody’s permission.

+Imprints of a new lifestyle.

+My introduction to birding.


Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+A great $100 white blouse.

+Wore this $49 striped sweater in the chocolate brown last week — it is so, so similar to my La Ligne Marina. Great look for less.

+Cozy knit lounge set.

+H&M just released a less expensive version of Citizen’s fab brown gaucho jeans. While you’re at H&M, don’t miss these suede slingbacks.

+Inexpensive bamboo flatware.

+The most elegant candles of all time. I love the ones from Linnea for everyday burning / more reasonable price point, but these are IT.

+A wardrobe staple of mine: blue and white striped dresses. Love this and this as options.

+These baggy jean overalls turned my head.

+Folding chairs that are actually chic.

+Beyond Yoga’s new arrivals are so fun. They do the best colors! I’m especially drawn to their “sky blue heather” color.

+Dramatic brass table lamp.

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40 thoughts on “What Is Your Favorite Part of Winter?

  1. ALLLL the citrus fruit this time of year! The varieties of orange! My faves lately are Cara Cara oranges and Dekopon/”Sumo” oranges, which are like giant clementines (easy to peel). I love making a citrus salad with the whole “ombre” of citrus (blood oranges, Cara Caras, navels, grapefruit) with very thinly sliced fennel, and the simplest dressing (olive oil, orange juice, salt and pepper — that’s it).

    The comforting sensation of wrapping my hands around a hot cup of tea in the morning

    Sleeping with my weighted blanket (too hot in the summer!).

    Rainy days! (I’m in California)

    But back when I lived in the Midwest — the quietness of a snowy day. There’s just nothing like it. And my first ever experience of really, REALLY looking at a snowflake and marveling at its pattern. I grew up in a tropical country and as a child I always wondered why paper snowflake cutouts are shaped the way they are. I remember studying fractals in school and the concept came to life, seeing the incredibly detailed perfection of a snowflake against a black coat, and it brought me to tears.

    1. I love the citrus call-out — we’ve also been enjoying those Dekopon oranges lately. And I completely agree on the magic and beauty of a snowy day — still thrilling!


  2. Every winter we cover out outdoor couch in faux fur blankets and set out a tray of candles, my husband calls it the “Nutcracker Lounge.” We’ll bundle up our toddler and let him play out there in the wee hours while we sit under a big pile of crocheted throws and have our coffee. There’s a playpen out there I’ll fill with pillows and toys, or he’ll hang on the couch with us and his own little hot chocolate. It really brings the magic.

    Seasonally, winter means mushrooms! I fry oyster mushrooms crisp in butter with countless long slivers of scallion, and we have that for breakfast with soft scrambled eggs, Maldon, and perhaps a little black truffle butter on toast.

    I live on the Côte d’Azur and so our winters are rainy rather than snowy. I love opening the full terrace door to the elements and letting in the cold moist air, the smell of rain, the pounding that drowns out the city noise. February is my actual favorite. It’s bracing in a way no other time of year is, and the sunny days are vibrant despite the chill.

    I love my bed. Love it. I like when it gets dark early, and after the kids are in bed do my skincare, I turn on my bedside lamp and snuggle up under the duvet with a funny show. I really enjoyed Fisk!

    1. These are such gorgeous vignettes — the mushrooms in butter with scallion left me with a watering mouth! Love your Nutcracker lounge, too – truly magical.


  3. Love this idea – looking for whats great about a season! I am in Perth, AU and we’re on a run of 43C days – i just googled that and its 109F. We’re all dying and dreaming of a day we can feel cold. But I am sure I will be lamenting that when it comes. I’l try and think about whats good about this hot streak! 😉

    1. I would love to go to Perth someday. My partner he loved his visit there. He’s from Brisbane! Go !!! Thankfully he does have some cousins in Perth but most are in Sydney and his immediate family is in Brisbane. Are you duel? Or any plans to come to the US? Lots of Aussies live in CO!

    2. Gilly! I grew up in the NSW Northern Rivers and lived in Brisbane for almost 13 years. A major bonus of moving to Ireland and now Georgia was gaining proper seasons, namely proper winters. I totally get where you’re at with the heat!
      I’m going to go out on a limb and share that my favourite hot weather feelings from summers in Aus are:
      – Late-afternoon siestas
      – Nighttime runs on the water where you get those cooling convection waves
      – Early-moon swims
      – Playing cards while eating watermelon
      – Making a killer playlist then going for a drive to watch the sunset
      – Summer fruit cocktails (or mocktails): peach or nectarine sangria blanca, watermelon mojitos, mango daiquiris, ginger janes (spiced rum, lime, Buderim ginger cordial, soda water)
      – Nighttime mini golf
      – Going to the movies to watch all of the awards season heavy-hitters then taking a walk with ice-cream/gelati to discuss it with whoever you went there with (or yourself if it’s a solo date!)
      – Pickling summer veges for the winter
      – Having a long late lunch with pals that centres around summer produce

      1. Aoife, these are so beautiful. “Playing cards while eating watermelon” — ahh! Such a universal summertime experience, perfect in its simplicity and slowness.


    3. Gilly! What a great reframe, you know? I’m here bemoaning the numb toes and cold wind on my face while I’m watching my kids scooter around awkwardly in down jackets, and you’re sweating and wanting what I have! Thanks for the reminder.


  4. I like winter. Here’s why: the specific beauty of a low winter sun; cashmere; training for races of longer distance is easier; my hair gets darker (blonde to strawberry blonde); long novels are more enticing; I’ve been collecting fragrances since I was a teenager–my favorites are best in cooler weather.

    Great responses–such fun to read!

      1. Hey back Aoife! Likewise I would love to know some of yours!! My winter favorites (well this week, anyway!) are: Guerlain Mitsouko, Le Labo The Noir 29, Serge Lutens Chergui, L’Wren Scott’s eponymous fragrance she did for Barney’s awhile back, Ormonde Jayne’s Woman. I have always thought of fragrance as seasonal; heavier clothes and drier air work better with heavier fragrances. I go much lighter in warmer weather as humid air and lighter clothing seem to call for lighter fragrances. Last summer I wore a lot of Acqua di Parma Colonia, Nicolai Cap Neroli, Carthusia Fiori di Capri, L’Artisan Seville a L’Aube. Now let’s hear yours! :-),

        1. Thank you so much for indulging me, Sara! These were *so* beautiful to hear about and 100% you on the “this week” side of things! I personally love wearing TN29 with a black turtleneck and red lipstick — it’s the perfect finishing vibe.

          Right now, I’ve been wearing Le Labo Baie 19 and Le Labo Bergamote 22 quite frequently, plus Tom Ford Café Rose (private collection) layered with Creed Aberdeen Lavender or James Heeley Cardinal. I’ve also been wearing Who Is Elijah Eau.

          Let me know if you want to have a perfume society — I would be so interested in that! xx

          1. I AM SO IN!!!!!!!!!! I have met some amazing friends all over the world (virtual and IRL) via scent. Great choices, FYI TN29 is my husband’s favorite on me right now, so I may need to re-up soon. Glad there is a Le Labo in DC.

          2. Omg, this thread is my dream come true!

            Jen, I already known that you’re a massive Byredo Mojave Ghost fan, so I would definitely recommend the Fragrantica profile of the fragrance to play around with the specific notes you love so much and to explore adjacent fragrances. I always explore off the ‘reminds me of’ section — https://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Byredo/Mojave-Ghost-27040.html

            Sara, that is so, so cool that you’ve made so many friends through fragrance. This is genuinely something that I love connecting with people on so this conversation means a lot to me. It’s always extra romantic hearing about fragrances through the eyes of loved ones as well; compliments from my husband about my perfume are such a swoon. I’m thrilled you’ve got a local LL where you are — their refill service is fabulous! I used to work for Le Labo in Ireland and honestly spending time talking with the LL community was just the most amazing experience. Let me know how you want to connect xx

          3. Thanks for the link to the Fragrantica site – so interesting. I like the pros/cons section too?

            Has anyone in this little comment enclave heard of the fragrance line Who Is Elijah? They just reached out to send me some samples and I’m intrigued by the site and the scent descriptions.


        2. Hi Sara and Aoife! I collect perfumes too, I’d love to join your little society.

          This week: Replica Maison Margiela Coffee Break, Tom Ford Oud Wood, Hermes Jardin Sur Le Nil, Jacadi’s baby perfume to layer (a gift from a french friend intended for my newborn)
          Winter in general: Replica Maison Margiela By the Fireplace, any of the Alkemia perfume oils with incense in them
          Spring: Alkemia Lilacs on the Winding Drive, Alkemia Vert Sur le Vert (smells like a tomato leaf), Nina Ricci Nina
          Summer: Hermes Le Jardin de Monsieur Li (my standard for a decade), Replica Maison Margiela Flower Market, Replica Lazy Sunday Morning layered with Kai white flowers perfume oil (they make a deodorant too!), Fragonard Orange Blossom, menthe poivree hydrosol, anything from Boyd’s of Texas smells great on sun-warmed skin, my favorite being Texas Lavender
          Autumn: Replica Autumn Vibes (good dupe for Baccarat rouge), Replica Jazz Club, Jo Malone Silver Birch & Lavender (very masculine)

          PS One of my good friends was a copywriter for Phlur and he and I used to go for coffee together and describe perfumes, one of my favorite ways to play hooky

          1. Kelly, you’re in! 😉

            Such great interesting choices! I don’t even know Boyd’s. That Jo Malone one I would like to try!!

          2. Kelly! These are so beautiful to read and I couldn’t love your specifications more! Thank you for sharing all of these different fragrances — I especially love the “any of the Alkemia perfume oils with incense in them”. On that note, you might also like The Ayu ‘Sufi’ – it’s irresistible and you can even use it as a hair and body oil – https://www.theayu.com.au/products/ayu-sufi

            Your description of conversations with your friend are heaven. Just gorgeous and please let us know when our ‘fume head’ gang can hang out – my email is ajlcontentinternational@gmail,com

          3. Kelly, I’m sooooo intrigued by that Jacadi baby perfume, too! And the most heartfelt congratulations on your newborn baby .

            I also realised that I didn’t do my seasonal fragrance loves:
            Winter: Tom Ford Café Rose (private collection), Creed Aberdeen Lavender, James Heeley Cardinal, The Ayu Sufi, Tom Ford Oud Fleur, Brecourt Ambre Noir, Le Labo Vetiver 46
            Spring: Frederic Malle Rose Cuir (previously Une Rose), Byredo Oud Immortel, Le Labo Iris 39
            Summer: Diptyque Philosykos, Trudon Aphelie, Le Labo Thé Noir 29
            Autumn: Le Labo Rose 31, Costume National I, Amouage Fate Woman, Vilhelm Parfumerie Purple Fig, Vilhelm Parfumerie Morning Chess, Trudon Bruma

            Year-round: Diptyque Geranium Odorata, Le Labo Thé Matcha 26, Le Labo Bergamote 22, Le Labo Baie 19 (the juniper, cade, and green petrichor notes are incomparable), Nuxe Body Oil (classic), Jo Loves Fig body lotion (ongoing layering fragrance), Skybottle Muhwagua body lotion (more fig because I just love it so, so, so much), my own body oil blend of vetiver, geranium, rose and frankincense (to evoke the Diptyque Kyoto ltd ed. EDT (that I stupidly never bought, ugh!)

      2. Hi Jen, you’re so welcome! I will forewarn you that Fragrantica is the most amazing rabbithole and the comments sections as well as essays are so inspiring. There’s incredible writers in that space.
        I’ve used Who Is Elijah in the last 12 months. They’re an Australian niche fragrance start-up whose goal is to make luxury, niche-quality fragrances at an accessible price point without compromising on the perfumes. I’ve worn Eau and it’s sexy and summery while also being intriguing for the cold months. I’ve read great things about Nomad and His/Her from the range. That’s so exciting that they’ve reached out to you! xx
        :Ps ‘scent enclave’ is the chicest phrase I’ve heard in a long time 😉

    1. Love these, Sara — you’re the second person to comment on seasonal perfumes and I’m intrigued. Maybe I’ll try this next winter. I also completely knew what you meant by “the specific beauty of a low winter sun.” Amen! It’s startling against a bare landscape.


      1. Yes!! You can try it when we get warmer weather with your lighter fragrances! Glad to know there is another “low winter sun” fan out there. It is such a specific image for me.

  5. I can’t believe I used to dread winter, I love almost everything about it now! It must be getting older. I’m thinking about life in more finite terms, like ‘how many winters do I have left??’ It’s not sad and morbid though, it’s just lovely and appreciative. When the sun comes out the morning after an ice storm, and every little branch is encased in ice, and everything just sparkles. Amazing. Cold, winter walks. Fires and baking and sledding parties with friends. A sneaky flask of Jameson. All this and no weeding!

    1. I love these, Shannon – especially the visual of the entire landscape sparkling with ice. Beautiful. Thank you.


  6. To be honest, my first response was “when it’s over.” But I’m going to try to think of something positive! I do love wearing my cherry red “sleeping bag” coat. I also appreciate not needing to apply sunscreen every time we go outside! And this may be a hot take, but I actually like cloudy winter days. It just seems more wintery, a better backdrop for twinkle lights and candles. Thanks for the prompt to be more grateful for winter!

    1. I love the observation about cloudy winter days being “a better backdrop” — agree! Thanks for all of these. Glad I pushed us to stretch and see the positive!


  7. I love the reset that winter offers — specifically January/February. Nothing I love more than cozying up with a book or Bible study, making soups and stews that last more than one meal (!), purging a closet or two, and taking walks all bundled up. While a string of gray days will have me longing for spring, if the sun is out I find the chill refreshing! xo H

    1. Love these – especially the reframe of Jan/Feb as a “reset” instead of a “time of deprivation” or “time of leaning into austere habits.” You’ve also nudged me to carve out time to tackle some closet sorting…


  8. I do like how beautiful everything gets with snow, whether it is a sugar dusting, a flurry of snowflakes, or we’re snowed in. I also have enjoyed seeing snowpeople around our neighbourhood and on campus. A great season for baking. A fun holiday too between Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day. The kick-off for Lent too this year. Thankfully I did not give up sweets. Here in CO though winters have become more mid-west/E-coastz because the snow isn’t melting as much. We still have large blocks and piles. And lately it’s felt like CA beachy weather because it’s Gray half the morning and mid-arvo gets all sunny which makes it impossible to see on the drive. But overall CO in the winter is great. I do love the SoCal winter though with winter blooms, cool and humid nights (I bought more outerwear in LA and in NSW than I have in CO). But overall I do like it in small doses. Much better than lake-effect snow in Rochester, NY or Syracuse and Buffalo which was always worse.

  9. Oohhh I love this. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find myself leaning into winter this year, not so much yearning for spring as in the past. We’ve had a nice run of sunny days in February where I live, which I think has helped immensely, even when the temperature is below freezing. I think I reached real adulthood when I embraced being warm in a winter wardrobe of layers, boots, warm socks, etc. No more freezing in bare legs on a cold night – a true threshold of growing up 🙂

    My absolute favorite thing about winter is ice skating outside on a frozen pond. You can only do this maybe one week during the winter where I live, but it is the most free, exhilarating feeling to glide around on a frozen pond with the sound of hockey sticks and skates around. It brings back the best memories of childhood for me.

    I also love walks in cold air, the sunsets in winter, and watching the birds at our bird feeders.

    1. Beautiful, all of these — and I completely agree on “dressing for the weather” as a litmus for maturity. Amen! I will NOT be seen with bare legs when it’s cold out!! Too practical.


  10. I so needed to see this today – February has been absolutely drowning me, despite my best wintering efforts.
    Lately my favorite part of winter has been the unexpected snow days, which I’ve been using to rest instead of catching up on tasks.
    Honorable mentions:
    Bundling up for a three mile walk/call to my mom
    Making a weekly batch of granola
    Family trips to the library when everyone’s getting a bit stir crazy

    1. These are so fabulous, especially the tree mile walk / call with your mom. What a beautiful winter tradition! I have been thinking about making walking a part of my morning routine again. Without Tilly, they’ve been absent. I miss them, and I miss the way being outside just makes everything feel better.


  11. Love these so much, Jen! And I love winter so much, too. As my husband says, “Husky life is the best life”, haha.

    Here are some favourite things about winter:
    Switching over perfume to more aromatic, opulent, and sultry scents — currently Tom Ford Oud Fleur and Diptyque Geranium Odorata
    Woodfire on the air and standing outside, watching my breath, counting inhales and exhales to encourage presence in the beautiful, fleeting seasonality
    Slowly warming up on a run in single digits (celsius) until I feel invigorated beyond measure and like I’m nurturing my entire body
    Winter sunlight bursting through the bare trees on snow
    Honouring the call to hibernate and simplify routines
    The postprandial slow-cooked meal enjoyed after a long Sunday afternoon walk
    Planning out my day according to the amount of daylight
    Flushed rosy cheeks and the rest of my face so, so cold and just feeling naturally lovely with very little effort (embarrassing but true)
    My husband suggesting a “festive” coffee on a cosy morning aka Bailey’s in the coffee or whiskey and cream in the coffee

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s entries here! xx

    1. I love these poetic captures of the high points of winter — especially the comment about “planning my day according to amount of daylight.” That really stirred me. So often, I feel cloistered from the patterns of nature — I can make it hot when I’m cold; I can turn on the lights when it’s dark, but these only go so far, and there are absolutely elements of my daily life that I change by the season, according to its weather, etc. Thanks for that reminder. Makes me feel connected in such a primal, good way to the natural world.

      Also love the note on “feeling naturally lovely with very little effort” — yes! A rosy cheek!


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