My Favorite Way to Spend a Winter Day Costs $0

published Dec 7, 2022
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During the long, balmy dog days of summer, the list of activities to do seems endless. You can garden! You can go for a picnic in the park! You can bike all around town! But when the sun starts setting what feels like one hour after waking up, “wind chill” starts to play a big role in conversation, and my hands are perpetually cold, that list of things to do can feel a lot shorter. 

The truth is, drastically distinct seasons are one of the reasons I love living on the East Coast. Summer is the season for soaking up the sun and socializing, while winter is the season for baking and hibernating. And now that December is here, I can’t wait to return to one of my favorite ways to spend a winter day: a read-a-thon. The concept has trended on TikTok for some time, and involves getting as cozy as possible, gathering your TBR pile, and reading to your heart’s content. 

Reading may not seem like a groundbreaking way to spend time, but an all-day reading session turns the activity into a luxurious exercise in hygge. When I set aside a leisurely afternoon for reading, I brew a pot of my favorite Trader Joe’s maple espresso tea, make a snack, light my cinnamon and clove candle, put on my softest sweatpants, and prepare to pore over my newest library book or the novel that’s been haunting my nightstand for the past few weeks. Intentionally creating a relaxing, comfortable environment helps the experience feel like a little treat.

I love a winter reading day for a few reasons. For one, it’s a completely free activity, which is particularly nice around gift-giving season when I’d rather save some money to splurge on gifts for loved ones. While the warmer months are flush with gratis entertainment, from lawn concerts to beach days, it can be trickier to find those free moments in the winter. But a read-a-thon uses things you already have right at home — books, blankets, and anything that makes you feel cozy

Credit: Andrii Kobryn

It’s also satisfying because it gives you permission to do just one thing. While my reading is often squished into the few minutes before I put down my phone and fall asleep, dedicating a long time to the practice lets me forget about everything else and focus on the book at hand.

It reminds me of the days I would stay home sick from school when I was young, secretly thrilled at the permission slip to do nothing but eat popsicles and watch movies all day. In a time where multitasking is a hard habit to kick and attention spans are running short, doing one slow thing I love for hours on end is surprisingly delightful. 

And when the snow starts falling outside the window? It makes this reading ritual all the more cozy.