By Khaula Siddique
Life in Canada as in all places, has its ups and downs. The changing seasons are stunning, beautiful and a welcome change. But for some, winter can be hard. It is dark and cold, the lack of sun and continuous gray days can definitely bring you down-don’t forget to take your vitamin D!
Personally, I have always enjoyed all the seasons, and I love winter! I do however do some things that I feel may help embrace the cold short days. I like to create atmosphere-or “mohol” as we say in Urdu! To start with I do a little seasonal clean-up, if it doesn’t bring you joy donate it! This Marie Kondo advice is just pure gold. Move furniture around, change your cushion covers, and keep spaces near doors, entrances and windows open for a good flow. Get rid of the clutter! You don’t need to spend a lot of money, have a decor swap with a group of friends or neighbours, and host them with cookies and hot chocolate! Nothing like good company to pass a cold Saturday afternoon!
Fairy Lights. I can not get enough of them! The variety is amazing, they don’t cost a lot and the amount of joy they bring is invaluable! I have solar-powered white fairy lights in my balcony garden for spring and summer and coloured fairy lights in the backyard for fall and winter. You can also find fairy lights to hang indoors in your living room and I highly recommend that!
Wind up your work day and try to slow things down in the evening as much as possible. Choose easier, quicker dinners to cook. Prep meals ahead to save you effort and time, then turn off the lights as it gets dark, turn on your fairy lights, open the curtains to enjoy any snowfall, settle down on your couch with a fuzzy throw and your favourite hot drink! Take the time to just breathe and enjoy a bit of quiet and the dark evening with your cheerful fairy lights. Maybe some gentle piano music on your device? A scented candle (do your research to make sure they are safe and non-toxic please!) or essential oil in a diffuser. There you have your winter “mohol” to help you embrace the things you can’t change!
Another thing to help cheer you up is to take a drive or a walk to see the lights around your neighbourhood/city. Just make sure you dress warmly and don’t have coffee/tea right before leaving. Nothing worse than having to bundle up, get out and then search for a restroom! Every town and city has their own little (or big!) light display at town centers or squares. Then there are the local shop windows! Just taking a walk down the main street can be all you need. Meet friends for coffee at a local coffee shop at the end of the walk.
Here’s a handy little list of some of the places in the GTA that you can visit to see winter lights, some have a fee and some are free.
- Illumi : I highly recommend you visit with your family, a beautiful display worth the ticket price. Check the website for times and prices. If you have a fussy toddler I would not suggest taking them though, they will not enjoy the cold, being bundled up and the length of the walk and that will spoil it for you. Hire a babysitter that evening!
- Celebration Square: Free! The lights are up, there are light art installations, trees and the skating rink! Plus winter treats.
- Journey Into Enchantment Drive Thru: at 6845 Millcreek Dr, Mississauga. You can just drive through! The ticket cost is for a carload of max eight people. There is a location in Markham as well.
- Gage Park: Skating in a beautifully lit park! Or just enjoy the view and take a walk down Main street to see the lights at Garden Square, the window displays and grab a bite to eat!
- Lights on Iron Block: They decorate their house really nice, just drive by!
- Twinkle After Dark: They do charge a ticket, check their website for times and prices. It is a 1 km walk and a lot of lights!
- Downtown Milton: New light display all down the Main street.
- Bloor Yorkville Holiday Lights: Free, just take a walk through Village of Yorkville Park and enjoy!
- Cavalcade of Lights: Free at Nathan Phillips Square. Skating, light and art installations.
- Glow Gardens: Etobicoke and indoor! There is a ticket, so be sure to check the website for times and prices.
- Window Wonderland: Dundas Street, Junction Area. The shop fronts have murals that come to life through the Artivive App on your phone, free and lots of fun for the kids. Plus halal places to eat nearby! Go during the day to see the animations and then see the store front light displays as it gets darker! I was part of this project and animated one of the murals, tag me in your post when you visit!
About the Author
Khaula Siddique, artist at Khaula’s Art, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now paints stories on large walls. She loves bringing art to the community and achieves this through interactive art activities and public art projects. When she is not painting, she is over-indulging her large eccentric orange tabby who part-times as her critic and her muse. You can find her art shenanigans on her website, Khaula Siddique.com.
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