Islanders share tips for surviving the P.E.I. winter

It's January, and already there's nowhere to put all the snow that's piling up. Shovel, scrape, snowstorm, repeat!

Even if you can afford a vacation, it's only a week or two, then you're back to trying to cope with winter again.

I asked Islanders via Facebook to share their favourite tips, tricks and hacks for surviving the cold, snowy P.E.I. winter. 

Many came through with their advice, in a we're-all-in-this-together spirit. 

Jason Doucette of Charlottetown had an excellent tip for clearing snow from vehicles: "Try to remember to take my brush into the house/garage so when I go out I don't get the seat full of powder opening the door." 


Head for the heat

Many people suggested a vacation to a warm, sunny locale.

Sara Fraser/CBC

"Plan a trip south and dream of it through the bad days," said Sharon Larter, sharing a photo of her sandy feet and a sunny beach last year in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. 

Even if it's short, it's something to look forward to. Then when you come home, you can start counting down the days until spring. 

"Become a snowbird; leave in November and return in May," suggested Dianne Watts-Pye.

Dress for the cold

Heidi Bernardi's tip: "I keep spare gloves/hats/scarves and even a spare winter coat and blanket in my trunk. I pre-heat and clean off my car before I have my morning coffee, thankfully it's still dark outside when I do that," she wrote.

Submitted by Sharon Larter

Many people suggested dressing in layers for maximum warmth.

Jen Ford of Charlottetown posted that she takes the layered look seriously by "wearing two coats, haha."

Lisa Jeanne Freeman of Souris commented "Clothing in layers for sure! Flannel sheets and electric blanket in bed."

Then there was this sentiment from Paul Ness: "Dress warmly and stop whining lol."

"I wear this amazing vintage snowsuit," said Ryan McAdam-Young, sharing a photo. "It keeps me nice and cozy and its vibrant colour and wacky style definitely are a conversation starter. Someone once told me that I looked like I was about to be shot out of a cannon while I was wearing it!"

Submitted by Ken Ford

Stay cosy inside

Many of you suggested a nice warm fire to chase away the chill.

"Love sitting around our wood stove with a hot coffee or chocolate and a touch of Bailey's. The Bailey's depends what time of day lol!" posted Tammy Pineau of Rustico. She said the time and effort of chopping and hauling wood is "definitely" worth it.

Submitted by Ryan McAdam-Young

Heidi Bernardi said making her home cosy in winter is important. She keeps "nice, soft fleecy throws around the house for when there is a nip in the air as well. Plus we have cats, they warm our hearts."

Beth Johnston said she tries to get to the sauna every day that she can.

"Just 10 minutes of that heat seems to turn my mood around," she said. "At home it's the fireplace, hot baths, candles, heavy wool blankets, slippers and flannel pjs. I use a ton of lavender oil so my skin doesn't get dry from all the heat. We have broken the back of January now."

Debbie Anderson Crowther said she always has a supply of books and snuggies (a blanket with sleeves) as well as a book light "because being out in the country we lose power for several days at a time almost every winter."

Submitted by Tammy Pineau

While Jolee Patkai of Montague enjoys a southern vacation and "nice warm knitted socks, cozy blanket, tea and puzzle page, maybe watch Chopped!" she also takes the fun outside sometimes.

"My grandson also says my chili is the best thing on a snowy day! We eat it on the deck while bundled up!" Patkai said. 

Make it social

Tracey Warren of Stratford said comfort food is a great way to make it through winter. She makes chicken soup "just like mom used to make ... then out comes the crib board. All winter we get together with friends on the weekend and play. Fireplace on, of course."

Submitted by Jolee Patkai

Peggy Miles from Summerside throws an annual hygge party mid-winter, complete with hot chocolate bar, and contests for those that bring the best mug/best slippers.

Hygge is a Danish term that refers to living a life of warmth and contentment.

"Seems to lift the spirits of my guests (and me) so we can make it through the rest of winter," Miles writes.

Plug it in

Many of you extolled the virtue of a good appliance — or several — to ward off the chill.

Submitted by Peggy Miles

"I got an electric mattress pad a couple of years ago and I've never regretted it," wrote Ivy Wigmore. "I nip upstairs and turn it on a half-hour or so before I'm going to bed and it's so cozy to get into. It must be like what the gentry used to experience when they sent servants ahead to hop in and take the chill off the sheets."

Kirstin Lund has a sauna in her bedroom! "Today I was freezing and I hopped in a couple of times! Now I'm super cozy," she said.

"Fire up the stereo and let the tube amplifier warm up the room while I listen to records!" said Phil Griffin, sharing a photo of the 1960s amp.

Submitted by Kirstin Lund

Others shared different ways of warming up their beds before they get in. Noella Richard said she fills two four-litre jugs halfway with hot water and puts them under the covers, "one where my torso will be and one at the feet. Toasty by the time I get in."

Nikkie Gallant says she has magic bag slippers she warms up before bed.

"I put them on the bed, just below where my pillow sits, while I'm getting ready for bed. Then I put them on. The bed feels much warmer on my shoulders and on my feet and it's easier to fall asleep."

Embrace winter!

Embracing winter and all it has to offer actually has some people looking forward to cooler weather.

Submitted by Phil Griffin

"I love the cold and this is my favourite time of the year," said Debby Hennessey, adding a smiley face emoji.

Emma Boswell posted that she loves outdoor winter activities including "photos, hikes/snowshoeing, skiing, skating. Beauty in all the seasons."

"No bad weather, just improper clothing. I think for the most part, we have beautiful winters on P.E.I.," she added.

"This winter I have been making myself take a walk outdoors daily, and I dress very very warmly (to hell with fashion)," commented Barb McKenna of Charlottetown. "I try to enjoy the look of winter, the snow, the birds, I look for squirrels and other life. I still don't love winter but we've come to a grudging respect for each other."

Sara Bryanton used to be a snowshoe guide in B.C. and said she loves snowshoeing, fat biking and cross-country skiing.

"Just love getting out a few times a week with my dogs. This is why I bought land in Stanchel, I wanna have it easy to get outside as one of my methods for taking care of depression and anxiety," Bryanton said, adding she even goes at night.

Submitted by Sara Bryanton

"Getting out into Mother Nature's playground!" helps Louise Campbell of Charlottetown, who also enjoys snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, as well as playing with her horse.

Steve Swyer posted a photo of his snowmobile, commenting, "This helps. But nothing like sitting on the beach in January."

Submitted by Louise Campbell

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