December: To-Do List

Illustration by Kathleen White

Illustration by Kathleen White

1. Hang heavy curtains
Heavy curtains are a great way to retain heat in rooms. You can also thicken existing curtains by sewing an old fleece blanket or a quilt onto them.

2. Get out of the house! 
Don’t let the warm embrace of your couch keep you from all that’s happening outside. Lace up your skates and take your family and friends to the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park at City Hall.

3. Feed the birds
Keep bird feeders filled, and check periodically to make sure the feed hasn’t gotten moldy or frozen.

4. Declutter and donate
Simplify your home by ridding yourself of unnecessary things. Examine your closet for clothes you could donate to a local clothing drive. You may be tired of that rainbow knit hat, but it might bring someone else joy and warmth. 

5. Make your own gift wrap and holiday cards
Reuse the paper around your house to wrap your gifts and create your own hand-stamped or -drawn holiday cards. Fold a page of newspaper and then cut some simple shapes that you can unfold into a snowflake-like wrapping paper. Personalize your own cards by cutting out festive shapes from newspaper to make a snowy winter scene you can glue to a folded cut of paper bag.

6. Lower your thermostat at night
Everyone wants to be warm when they’re getting to sleep, but overnight you sleep better when the air is cooler. Turn down your thermostat, or use a programmable model that will do it automatically, before you go to sleep. 

7. Make your own wreaths
Spend an evening making your own wreaths at one of the workshops being held around town this month. That pine scent will make it feel like the holidays.

8. Give until it hurts
Whether it’s cash, clothes, food or time, there are endless ways to give this season. Spend a few days this winter delivering meals to the homeless with the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank, or just keep your eyes open in your neighborhood for opportunities to do some good. 

9. Dress appropriately for cycling
Avoid cottons that will soak up moisture, which can lower body temperature. Wearing a wool or synthetic fiber beneath your outer clothes ensures that your body stays warm and dry while you ride.

10. Break out the homebrew kit or make some kombucha
There’s no better time than winter for a homebrew. Reuse old beer bottles, growlers or mason jars to store your handmade drinks. Read about local brewers and distillers starting on page 19.