The Privileged Life: Light Up Your Home and Heart for Winter

Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.” (Psalm 4:6-7)

January is here, and the party’s over.1 Christmas decorations have come down, sweets are gone (especially if you’re starting a diet), and retail shelves are bare. It’s back to school, back to work, back to normal drudgery. 

If winter blues are settling in on you, it’s a battle to keep up your spirits in the after-Christmas wasteland. I, too, miss the holiday glitz and heady consumption of chocolates! When we took down all our red-and-green decorations yesterday, my husband (who loves Christmas) commented that the house “looked naked” as the ribbons and ornaments disappeared. 

This year, though, I’ve planned something different—a step-down approach to Christmas. Since I like to adorn our home for the seasons, I’ve “winter-ized” things this year, leaving some decorations still out and about for a little while.

Here are a few ideas for stretching out the season of joy:

  • Keep some greenery. Remove red and green decorations from garlands, and replace them with blues and whites. (By this time, real greenery should be replaced with artificial boughs, to avoid fire hazards from dried-out evergreens.) Add some “snow” and wildlife such as deer, squirrels, and owls. Replace multi-colored strings of lights with all-white bulbs.
  • Put out pine-scented candles, hand lotions, and soaps, or use diffusers. Switch to using a wintry or snowflake-embellished hand towel.
  • Make your own “snow.” Cut out paper snowflakes, and hang them on a string in your window. Make your own ice cream out of real snow (or finely crushed ice) with sweetened condensed milk drizzled over it. Set out a snow globe!
  • Cuddle a cup of heat. Try a new coffee flavor or spiced chai tea. Haul out your favorite soup recipes and try new ones. My husband made mulligatawny soup last month for the first time…really good! Look below for one of our “old faithful” recipes to enjoy an innards-warming stew.*
Frosted “blueberries” and magnolia blooms, along with glass trees and white lights, replaced the reds and greens from Christmas in this mantel decoration.

But what if January hits you hard with “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD)? The reduced amount of sunshine in the Northern Hemisphere right now can send your spirits plummeting in spite of all the home decorating.

How can you light up your heart and mind to preserve the joy and warmth?

  • Remember that happiness is a choice. Read uplifting Scripture verses that pour light into your soul (do a word search for “hope,” “love,” and “joy”). Then set your mind on God’s promises that will lift you out of the gloom. Practice the presence of Jesus Christ with you every moment—He is our happy Savior. Pray for His light to illuminate your thoughts.
  • Let as much light as possible into your workspace during daytime hours. Keep windows uncovered, and reposition furniture for sitting in the sunshine. Exercise in a well-lit area. 
  • Sparkle! Wear jewelry with rhinestone snowflakes. Hang an old chandelier crystal prism in your window or from your car’s rearview mirror. It’s hard to be depressed when things around you are sparkling!
  • Make an effort to smile. Smiling improves your heart condition and blesses others. It decorates your face with the joy of the Lord. Tie a bright bandana on your purse/briefcase/backpack as a reminder. See how many smiles you can get started on the faces of others this week.
A cheery snowman and snowflake towel greet guests.

Winter can offer you a wonderful new season with Jesus. He is trustworthy and faithful to bring you new mercies, hope, and spiritual gifts to enjoy every morning—no matter what the weather, temperature, or situation may be. 

When you decorate your home and your heart with His love, you proclaim to the world that Christmas is never “over” but remains a daily warmth and joy in your life. Let’s keep our Christmas celebration going with Jesus all through January!

Jesus, Light of the World and source of all happiness, You are my God and King all year long. Help me celebrate Your salvation with others just as much now as during the Christmas season. Let Your joy fill my heart so that my words will be a sweet fragrance of hope for others. Bless me and my home this year with the light of Your countenance. In Your name, Amen. 

*Beef Minestrone Stew

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ½-1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (16-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 6+ cups water
  • ½ head of cabbage, sliced into 1/2 –inch pieces
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag med. egg noodles (or your choice of pasta)

In a large saucepan or soup pot (3+ quarts), brown ground beef with onion; drain off excess fat. Add celery, carrots, garlic, seasonings, beans, tomatoes, and water. Simmer on medium-low heat for an hour. Add cabbage and continue to cook for another half hour. Add desired amount of noodles/pasta (plus extra hot water if needed) and bring to boil again; cook for 15 minutes or until noodles are done. Serve with hearty slices of cornbread or garlic toast. Serves 8-10.

© Copyright 2024 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. #winterdecorations #decorateforwinter #winterblues #seasonalaffectivedisorder #cozyjanuary #januaryblues #beefminestrone

1If you’re still celebrating with “Old Christmas” in January, see my blog from last Christmas (2022):

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