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When we were youngsters, few things beat a winter snow day — an impromptu day off of school to romp outside, build snow forts and castles, and take comfort indoors with hot cocoa and warm cookies. A span of just 8 hours off did the soul as good as 8 weeks off. So now we’re old, we have real jobs, and we don’t get official snow days — so what? Take a personal snow day for yourself, and build a winter sanctuary inside your home that’s as good for the soul as 8 weeks off.

Giving yourself a day off of work to relish in the comforts of wintry fun can be highly rejuvenating. If a 10-year old can do it, why can’t you? Take one day this season and have yourself a merry little winter retreat, one that will revive your spirits and remind you of the joys of playing at home while the snow falls outside. And if you live in a climate where there is no snow, you’ll still benefit from the time off to pamper yourself in pure winter fashion.

Set the ambiance.
To kick start your snow day, make your home feel like a winter retreat. Light the fireplace, if you have one — and if not, light candles and incense around the house. Natural flames, heat and aromas of the season all set the tone for a wintry scene. In the kitchen, prepare stovetop potpourri with a small pot of cloves, cinnamon sticks and citrus peels — any combination will do. Let this mixture gently simmer in water as the day rolls along, and you’ll be greeted with heavenly scents of warming spices all through the house.

Get cozy.
Now that the mood is set, get snug! You’ve got a full day off to purely lounge, so don’t waste it in a skirt or slacks. Put on your PJs or yoga pants with fuzzy socks and oversized rabbit slippers — and perhaps even a soft scarf ‘round the neck. You’re going to want to settle into fluffy things later, so gather all the spare blankets, comforters and pillows, and toss them on the couch in your living room — or better yet, make a fort with the blankets and set up camp underneath!

Play a little.
There are few greater winter joys than baking up a storm. Try baking something sweet and indulgent that was one of your childhood favorites — thumbprint cookies, rolled sugar cookies or classic chocolate chip cookies. Take this time to make something Mom used to make, and take the time to enjoy it like you used to, without counting calories or carbs. You’ll be back on the treadmill tomorrow, it’ll be fine. Besides, baking fills up the house with delicious smells, which only add to the classic winter ambiance you’re going for. When cookies are done, bust out the classic holiday movies — we love the old 1970s Christmas Claymation classics, like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Little Drummer Boy.” Or opt for films like “The Holiday” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” — nobody has to know of your guilty holiday film pleasures, even if Macaulay Culkin is a leading role…

Finally, chill out.
Take a load off — this is your snow day to retreat, play and rest. Whether you’ve got a roaring fire lit or you’re listening to birds chirp outside the window, lay back with a good book and a steaming cup of cocoa. Take time to breathe, wiggle your toes in your slippers, and enjoy this time out of time.

Image: stephalicious