Winter’s Gifts


“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” ~Ruth Stout




Winter is a much maligned season…..yes you heard me correctly.  When we say winter is coming, you don’t hear a joyful cheer rise up from the masses, especially if you live where there is snow.  No instead there are groans and grumbles.



It is cold.  The landscape looks brown or drab or worse covered in white for months on DSCN8599end.  Outdoor activities are limited.  And worst of all, it is dark and gray.  Especially dark….we rise in the dark, go to work in the dark, and watch the sunset before we return home from work.  We are eating in the dark, and if your internal clock is like mine, you want to go to bed by 7pm.  Not a bright prospect for a season.



So I decided a few years back that I had to stop grumbling and complaining about winter.  Instead I needed to find the good in winter…the gifts it brings us.  And once found, I needed to embrace these gifts, and believe in the wonders winter can bring.  And I do mean believe, for as we know our perceptions about something can color it either positive or negative.



I believe it is time to give winter the credit it is due.  To bring winter out of the darkness, and into a more beautiful light. And I want to share winter’s gifts with you now, as the season approaches.



So what are these gifts, you ask?  Take a look……




Winter isn’t actually such a dark season.  November and December are the 2 darkest months, and they come at the end of autumn.  As winter starts on the solstice, we mark the darkest day and celebrate the coming back of the light.  Each day we gain sunlight and the days brighten and shine.





And that’s another gift of winter, some of the most spectacular bright, clear blue skies.  Watching the sun rise low is especially wonderful, as it casts unusual shadows on the canvas of white.





Then there are the sunrises that take your breath away.  Yes this is an actual winter sunrise of pastel colors with that heart cloud.





And on the days when the skies are a dark gunmetal gray, and they open up with a fury, we see another glorious scene.  One of magic where the whole world is swallowed whole in white.  I watch each snowfall as each is different depending on the temperature.  And that snow can create such unique scenes.





While the landscape may not be filled with green and flowers, there is a quiet beauty you will miss if you don’t look for it….really look for it.





A brown drab garden brought back to life with the magic of the snow and the winter light.  One light show I look forward to every morning as the scene is always spectacular. Reaching deep into my soul, scenes like this make my heart sing.




winter bluebirds

And then there are the visitors who add their own light to winter.  Here a pair of bluebirds find shelter and shop for a spring home.





Watching nature is another wonderful gift of winter.  Now that the trees and landscape are bare, we can see the birds more clearly.  And see the beauty of other critters, like this fox in its thick coat.




winter window

So while winter may keep us indoors more, and may start off as the darkest season, we can take advantage of the gifts of winter even from the warmth and safety of our homes.  By changing your perspective you can observe a stunning world just outside your window.



Oh and there are other things you can do during winter as you begin to embrace the gifts it bestows on us.  Consider exploring one of the following:



  • Grow herbs on a windowsill to use all winter so you can still have some of summer’s fresh flavor.
  • Bring in a potted geranium or coleus and watch it bloom all winter.
  • Give yourself a challenge and read more.  Catch up on those books you have been meaning to read.
  • Take walks and look at the beauty of winter from a different viewpoint.  Maybe even build a snowman or make a snow angel.
  • Take up snowshoeing or another winter sport, and see the winter scene’s in a new spot.
  • If you are crafty you can work on projects or delve more into other creative artsy endeavors.
  • Clutter clear your house slowly and create more space for joy and abundance.
  • Cook more yummy soups, stews and comfort foods.


The list is endless….So take some time this winter and explore all the gifts winter holds. 



As the solstice approaches and we ponder winter’s gifts, I hope you join me on November 30th on my garden blog, Gardens Eye View,  for my quarterly meme, Seasonal Celebrations.  


What do you think are winter’s greatest gifts?  What are your favorite things to do in winter?  







Special Note:  The pictures here are of winter scenes from my garden over the years.





Read-Rural-online-magazine Please join me on November 19th, for the next issue of the newly published on-line magazine, Rural.  I will have an excerpt of this post in the new issue.

The magazine is the creation of Jen@ The Light Laughed.  Many of you may know Jen already from her new blog or from her days writing at her old blog Muddy Boot Dreams.  I recently did an interview with Jen which was quite a treat for me.

I hope you will check out the last issue of this free online magazine.  You can sign up to read the new issue of Rural here.




I leave you with a bit more sentiment about winter’s gifts.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

winter's gifts

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

36 Replies to “Winter’s Gifts”

  1. Lovely post and so true! I think winter gives the gift of time……time to explore Pinterest and actually make those yummy soups and stews that otherwise I’d never do!

    And yes, November and December are so drab, but Christmas is awesome (especially now that I have 2 young kids it’s changed everything for me). I get to make yummy cheesecakes and Oreo balls and snuggle by the fire. Then I watch the deer eat the rest of the pears and apples in my backyard. Life is good!!

    1. Beautifully put Laura! Christmas just after the solstice makes the dark season so worthwhile as it brings a special light! Your Christmas and winter sounds lovely…thanks so much for visiting and contributing your thoughts.

  2. I believe we view winter with a different perspective during the seasons of our life. It was’t appreciated fully when I had to drive to work on slippery, dangerous roads but now that time has slowed down I can fully see the beauty it holds.
    I’m looking forward to your article in Rural, Donna. My contributions will never be the gift of writings like you and Jen can create but I’m there in my own special way.

    1. I agree Judith…when I had to drive in the messy nasty weather I did not appreciate winter’s gifts….now I have time to really appreciate it. Jen and your contributions are equally amazing my friend. Mine will simply be an excerpt of this article which links back to this post. I enjoyed trying to put the smaller excerpt together….I am looking forward to everyone’s contributions.

  3. Simply marvelous Donna, I loved dipping my toes into the snowy scenes that you captured. I agree with Judith about how maturity gives you a different view of winter, I’ve learned to appreciate it’s quiet beauty and privacy. [Loved that quote] But then again, I’m no longer commuting via a snowy drive on a highway watching bumper cars tilt off into the verge like I used to be.

    Now I walk through snow gently smoothed by the wind, the farm dogs my companions ahead in the track, sparkly lights glinting from a sun settng too early among the giant fir trees,, and I watch the birds in the trees flit through the bare branches…yes it’s a much better commute.

    A beautiful post Donna, and one that I am sure the readers of Rural are going to love to view over and over again.


  4. This post is pure poetry in so many ways, Donna! Not only your beautiful words and photography but your encouragement and ideas are inspriring. I love all 4 seasons for the unique gifts they bring, and I do not think I could live anywhere where there is no winter. Snow is almost allways a welcome sight in Colorado, especially in the high country where it is a commodity that gives many their living. It is also the way our many forests and animals get their moisture all winter and with spring melt, so it is vital to life itself. We had our first snow yesterday on the Front Range and I know it created a hassle for the airport and commuters but for me and my young granddaughter it was a welcome and joyful sight! We played in it and had such a good time, plus shoveling our driveway gave me 30 minutes of activity which is the minimum of exercise I am striving for each day to keep my health. So yes, winter is welcomed in my heart as much as any other season. 🙂

    1. Pat how very kind of you! The first snow is the best….we are awaiting ours still! Yours sounds lovely as does your winter….thanks for stopping by to add to the conversation.

  5. I am one of winter’s fans. Crisp, cold, beautiful. I love the pared back elegance of the season. Snuggling into bed. Cosy times with a book. Comfort food. And an escape from the sweaty season, which MS loves and I don’t do well.
    We get very little snow here, but those walks across crunchy frost covered ground are a delight. As are spider webs bejewelled in ice…

  6. Beautiful photos, Donna! Having spent my entire life in southern California and having seen snow only a handful of times, I find the idea of winter enchanting rather than dreadful. We don’t really have winter – essentially, we observe a warm season and a cool season. We’re now entering the cool season (in fits and starts), which here is a time of great activity in the garden. I often long for the down-time that comes with winters like yours – perhaps not as lengthy as the winter bestowed upon you by last year’s Polar Vortex but a quiet, peaceful winter’s nap sounds very nice to me right now.

    1. I experienced that kind of winter in Arizona and I found I missed my 4 seasons and moved back home…I suppose that is why we each find where we are most suited to the weather….it is a nice winter there in CA Kris, but I cannot tolerate the hot, hot summers in So. CA and AZ. I hope your cool season comes with some needed rain too.

  7. We rarely have such scenic winters here Donna, often they are grey and damp, but you are so right, its best to look for the positive in each season, even our drizzly chill can be beautiful.

  8. Oh I absolutely love this post. I also love the winter. I am not sure if it is just because I am Canadian and have always had it, or as you describe the beauty of the season my heart is all a flutter waiting to see it again knowing that it brings such joy. Since I put on my first pair of snowshoes I have been out in this winter thing most everyday. Your photos make me want it to hurry up and get here. Great post. Thank you. I am looking forward to the next issue of Rural and seeing he beauty of winter. B

    1. Oh thank you so much Grace…I am so pleased you enjoyed the post and you love winter too! The beauty of the season will be upon us soon! So happy you stopped by today….

  9. My husband and closest friends have often accused me of not answering the phone. I tell them I was a monk in another life. Sometimes I can get away with that-:) But to the point of your wonderful post, I value my privacy so highly and my ability to “dig” into research…that the social life most of us live sometimes gets in the way. Winter helps. I relish the long dark days when I can study by my desk light. I must be an oddball, especially for a girl raised in the California surf, but I feel at home here in Portland. I love the rain. Of course, I love the sun too, and love that the sun gives me the flowers I can’t live without. But i understand the stark beauty of winter, everything your wonderful post highlights is real for me. I think it is the Irish that call winter a time “when the veil between worlds is thin.” When you can almost see to the other side. I love thinking that the plants are at rest, and that we too can know rest in this season. May we know it with all our hearts.

    1. I do not answer the phone either Susan…my family and friends know this, especially if I am in the middle of something or I need some alone time. I don’t snub them, and I call them back in a timely manner….but I think not answering the phone shows more how we are tapped into our needs. You are not an oddball either….it is a most spiritual time in winter. Rest, peace and deep introspection with the darker, grayer times and cleansing rain…perfect.

  10. Maine is still a place where people celebrate winter (although not every bit of it — last winter was a bit too much of a good thing!). During my years living part-time in Pennsylvania, I always knew i was home in Maine when I heard the local weather forecaster say “Good news in the forecast! We have a good chance of significant snow!”
    Google the lyrics to Judy Collins’s song “The Fallow Way” — it’s about learning to love winter. (It’s also one of the songs she wrote to express her grieving process after the suicide of her only child.)

    1. That is wonderful to hear Jean….that there are those who love this season of winter…..and thank you for directing me to “The Fallow Way”…a beautiful song, it speaks to me!

  11. Winter comes mostly as a respite from heat here in central Texas, and though temperatures can plunge dramatically, they don’t stay below freezing for long typically, so we have fewer excuses to alter activities. The days can become oppressively gray however, and it can be a struggle to find cheer when the sun seems to have retreated altogether. It is good to be reminded to get OUT, to look around, and to appreciate those moments of light and life that are perhaps more valuable for their vulnerability in the cold. Great post!

    1. Thanks so most Deb….I think in many spots, the gray and early darkness can wear on us….with each lovely fall day still coming, I am appreciating those moments too.

  12. Great attitude, Donna! 🙂 I love that winter coat your garden wears in your photos. In the last two years we had very mild winter with rare occurrence of snow and I hope this year will be different. Sometimes snow makes daily activities somewhat difficult, especially when you get up in the morning and need to clear the yard so that you can drive your car and get to work, but these conditions belong to winter so no need to be annoyed…

  13. I LOVE winter, Donna, and miss it when I don’t get it properly. What has surprised me more than anything, living here in the Netherlands now for 6 years (7 winters) is the lack of snow. It’s more like what I experienced in Atlanta…little to no snow at all. I would LOVE a good snowstorm this year. I know, be careful what I wish for! But even at my age (70), I still love the cold and the snow and the shorter days. I especially love eating early suppers in the dark with the candles lit…like what we do all year round, but not always in the dark!

  14. You make me miss winter Donna! I think I will get to see some snow before I migrate, though. Now when I think of winter, I think kayaking and tiki bar. But when I was snowbound, my favorite winter things were curling(!) when I lived in Maine, a nice fire, a cozy blanket and a good book, tea, tea, tea – it’s how I hydrate in winter – and cooking. I love to make soups or bread or both! Big, fluffy socks are a must, too. A winter hike on a sunny day is also welcome if the wind isn’t blowing. Lake effect snow is truly a winter wonderland. And the birds – I love to feed and watch the wild birds. Participating in Cornell’s Project Feeder Watch was also a favorite winter pastime. Lovely images through both words and your photos.

    1. I am humbled Kathy as I never thought I would hear you say that given the winters you have up there. Your memories of snowy winters are cozy and heartwarming…and your new winter memories are equally wonderful.

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