Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is ahead. The weekends are gray and cool. It’s the season to curl up with a book, blast the Christmas tunes and embrace the comfort of being home and nesting. Here are ways to make your home feel good for the senses.
Deck your halls to holiday music
Add these albums from new and classic artists to your winter playlist
She & Him
“A Very She & Him Christmas,” featuring actress Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Inspired by semi-holiday songs by the Carpenters, Elvis and more.
This is the second volume of “Glee Christmas” presented by the cast of the beloved TV show, “Glee.”
On Michael Buble’s first Christmas album, Buble is joined by Shania Twain, Thalia and The Puppini Sisters.
“Chicago XXXIII — O Christmas Three” is Chicago’s newest holiday album. Collaborators include Dolly Parton, BeBe Winans, Steve Cropper and America.
“Under the Mistletoe” is a mix of traditional Christmas standards and new holiday music largely co-written by Justin Bieber.
How do you make mulled cider?
1 quart apple cider or juice
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
1⁄2 teaspoon of vanilla
1⁄2 cup of brown sugar
A few slices of fresh ginger (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
Combine and simmer for about 15 minutes until brown sugar is dissolved, cider mixture is very fragrant and slightly reduced. Enjoy on its own or with a shot of brandy in each mug topped with cider. Top with whip — yum!
— Robyn Grace Jennings, owner of Taste of Heaven in Downtown Lodi
A time for reading
The books locals are requesting from Tom’s Used Books
What you’re reading, according to Tom’s Used Books in Lodi: “Against All Enemies,” by Tom Clancy; “Gabby, A Story of Courage and Hope,” by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly; “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett; “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” by Theodore Shapiro; the entire “Goosebumps” series; “The Uglies,” by Scott Westerfeld; anything by Lee Child and “The Ranger’s Apprentice series.
How to make your house radiate with a wonderful holiday aroma
It’s not always easy to keep that aroma of roasting turkey or baked apple pie in your home, but you can keep it smelling like the holidays with cinnamon and spice. Add a little cinnamon to a mini slow cooker with water, and your house will smell like Christmas.
— If you don’t have a small slow cooker, you can do it on the stove. Add a few spices — cinnamon, all-spice, cloves, vanilla and nutmeg — in a pot of water about half full. Let it simmer, then keep it on low and the aroma will fill your house.
— Add dried lemon and orange peels to your fire for a light citrus aroma.
— Decorate wreaths and gift bags with earthy scented rosemary for a light and refreshing boost.
— Electric aromatherapy diffusers are the big deal this season. You don’t have to use a candle; most are heated with a light bulb. Most are ceramic, and heat a dish of oil that sends fruity and seasonal smells throughout the room.
What is your favorite thing to do around the house when you are in a winter nesting mood?
“Before I had this little guy (my son), I liked to quilt.”— Pamela Marshall
“I cook and watch football.”— Kathie Scott
“We play board games and watch movies.”— Monica Cabeitu
“I mostly don’t do a lot because I have homework, but when I have break ... I like to play with my little brother.”— Erick Cabeitu
“I play videogrames and do nothing.”— Paul Romero
“I like to rampage with my son ... and build things with Legos.”— Jason Brown
“I read a lot of child development and educational books.”— Teri Brown