January is a bore. Aside from post-Christmas bargains and the return of long-awaited Downton Abbey and Sherlock, it's a tedious month. (So are February and March but that's another story.) It's been bitterly cold for much of the past week, it gets dark too early, the sidewalks are slippery when you least expect it, and you can't find a half-decent tomato to save your life. Chicken soup, hot chocolate, roasted sweet potatoes, and daunting quantities of macaroni and cheese are necessities, along with the leftover Christmas treats you swore you'd swear off of.... but, really, you need extra fat and calories to stay warm. And it's too cold to fulfill the exercise aspect of your New Year's resolutions — what if your toes fell off?
What is it they always used to say about working out? "Just Don't Do It"? "Just Say No"? Something like that.
Stout snow boots, heavy turtlenecks, long scarves. Fleece-lined leggings under long corduroy skirts — the Eastern European peasant look is back— and these are my indoor outfits I'm describing. Flannel shirts, flannel sheets, and flannel shirts worn under flannel sheets.
I keep stealing my husband's new, loud fleece-lined plaid flannel shirt from L.L. Bean, which I gave him for Christmas. It's somewhat too big and bright for him and it looks far stupider on me (especially over a clashing plaid flannel shirt). But when our apartment is 10 degrees colder than our thermostat setting, who cares? It's soft, heavy, and thick. We battle over it. I wear it to bed.
Try to hibernate under blankets as much as possible in January, with eyes closed or with a perfect novel (try The Fountain Overflows, by Rebecca West, my official all-time favorite). A very warm, very welcoming bed is more important this month than ever. (Furry hot water bottle, anyone?)
The more cats on your January bed, the better. But you didn't need me to tell you that.
Underneath the cats, I like some wintry charm. Along with our super-warm down comforter, we have a bright red quilt and soft pillowcases printed with a vintage Vermont-y landscape. They are "Winter Village" from Pottery Barn's 2012 holiday collection. I fell in love with them on sight (but their Christmas catalog arrives in September, when I'm still in flip flops). They sold out long before I was ready to buy them, and didn't reappear this year. Thus began one of my relentless eBay hunts, executed with craftiness and discipline. I got 'em, and they make me happy.
They make Harris happy, too.
Don't go out there if you don't have. Stay in.