Aggressively Cozy: How to Snuggle In and Make the Dark Days Bright

Time to Get Cozy

I live on the Eastern edge of the Central Time Zone, and this time of year, that means one thing:

Darkness. Earlier and earlier.

In a year that has already seen its share of metaphorical darkness, this season feels fraught. We’ve wrapped up our quiet Thanksgivings, and now are looking at the prospect of lonely winter holidays. The sun sets at 4pm now, and it’s all, just…a lot to take. (Though, and I cannot overemphasize this, so much better than a lot of alternatives.)

What Could Make Winter Better?

A worn holiday card, probably from the early-to-mid 20th century, depicting a stylized cozy house in a grove of trees on a snowy day. It reads "Greetings."

Winter is a complicated business for midwesterners, I think. On the one hand, we’re proud of our hardiness, snow is pretty, and there’s something impressive about just how cold it can get and how much snow can fall. On the other, no one I know really gets excited about icy roads, shoveling walks, and the aforementioned 4pm sunset. And of course, many of us are physically affected by the loss of light, and seasonal depression is a very real thing. 

I’ve been on a quest the past few years to become a person who likes winter, and it has mostly worked. My prime strategy is to really dig into all the good things about winter. The best thing about winter, I have concluded, is coziness. 


Despite every lifestyle brand in America trying to commodify the Scandanavian concept of hygge a few years ago, coziness is not something that can be bought. You can buy things that aid in creating coziness, of course, but coziness is really more about intent.

Especially relevant this year, coziness doesn’t require additional people–it’s entirely possible to be very cozy alone. Winter is the coziest season, and that, for me, has become reason enough to like it. 

Candlelight, and soft socks, and hot drinks, and good books are how people have been getting through the dark season since time immemorial. As we approach the Winter Solistice, I’ll be featuring a bunch of my favorite old-fashioned cozy winter activities, along with some recipes and projects. 

The Very Cozy Details

These projects will be:

  • Cheap or free
  • Social distancing friendly
  • Largely independent of modern technology (with a little wiggle room)
  • Not directly related to Christmas

I think it will be fun. That’s right. Winter fun, my friends, it’s a thing.

Hard truth: I don’t know if it’s going to work this year. I have been using a lot of my “it’s not cabin fever if you do it on purpose” strategies all year long, and it’s possible that I’ve worn them out. We’ll see. 

So join me on this quest. If it works, we’ll reach the Solstice in fairly okay spirits, with a few more cozy skills, and with greater cozy style, prepared for the rest of the winter, as we creep towards brighter days.

If it doesn’t, at least you still had some hot cocoa, right?