Come early November, and Christmas may be just weeks away but we’re not ready to head full-tilt into festive decorating quite yet. Instead, now’s the time to revel in this side of late autumn and early winter that’s more about cosiness than sparkle.
First on our list would be to fill our homes with candlelight. At times, winter’s darkness is to be embraced, turning the lights low and opting for the quiet, reflective shadows created by a singular candle instead. At others, it is to be chased away, every nook and every cranny illuminated as soon as day turns to dusk. Winter scents make their first appearances now too, although they’re perhaps more of the pine and wood-smoke variety than spices and citrus for the time being.
Next in the process of dressing the house up for winter is the bringing in of the great outdoors. A ritual much older than the Christmas celebration, evergreen stems are a reminder that, despite appearances, there’s still verdant green life to be found outside. This month, opt for those branches and garlands that are less snow-dusted and sparkling and more straight from the forest (even if they are life-like ones). A simple eucalyptus or twiggy wreath hung on the door now will hint at the cheery home inside, and you can add to it later with gold berries, velvet ribbons and pinecone clusters as we march towards Christmas.
Finally this month, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to really think about cosiness. By which we absolutely mean cushions, throws and rugs, of course, but also those details that go beyond soft and cuddly to create a true sense of comfort. It’s the fully-stocked log basket beside the fireplace (and a generous pile outside), the jewel-like gleam of bottles and glassware on a close-by drinks trolley, the ease of having everything you need (book, lamp, blanket) near to hand, and the sheepskin-wrapped hot water bottle slipped between the sheets ten minutes before bed that all create genuine cosiness.