“Obviously, you can’t be outside for as long during the cold months, but if you dress properly, you can be outside for long periods of time, even in the winter,” she said, adding that we can look for ways to be active outdoors with guests. “It helps if you’re moving a round; it’s a little harder if you’re sitting with a glass of wine.”
Ms. McGurk, is a proponent of friluftsliv, a Scandinavian concept (pronounced FREE-loofts-liv) that calls for embracing the outdoors year round. To move a holiday like Thanksgiving outside, we need to adjust our expectations. We may not be able to serve a full turkey dinner with all the fixings, but we could certainly enjoy food together around a fire. Ms. McGurk suggests wearing thermal underwear, pulling out some throw blankets and serving hot items like stew or hot cocoa. “This could be an opportunity to create some new traditions,” she said. “Try an unconventional Thanksgiving meal outside, maybe give thanks to nature.”
Marissa Lovell, 27, a freelance writer in Boise, Idaho, adjusted her expectations to make Halloween happen. She spent the summer worrying that her favorite holiday would be canceled. By early September, she and her boyfriend, Brian Downs, 26, a trail builder, had already decorated the inside of their 700-square-foot house for the holiday with seasonal dishware and spooky artwork on the walls. By early October, they had set gravestones in the front yard and a giant spider on the roof. “We feel about Halloween the way other people feel about Christmas,” she said.
Knowing they could not bring guests indoors, they decided to invite 10 friends to their backyard instead. With the temperature forecast to hit 36 degrees, Ms. Lovell set out piles of blankets for people to use if they felt a chill. She ordered pizzas and made seats out of wood pallets that she covered with cushions, arranging them around her stone firepit. She told guests to dress in costume, but to choose them wisely. “It’s not the time to be a Playboy bunny,” said Ms. Lovell, who dressed as the devil with a vintage red robe atop a red bodysuit. (Mr. Downs was a werewolf.) The last guests left after midnight.
The night “was better than I hoped,” said Ms. Lovell, who normally would have gone to a Halloween concert. “It was a bright spot of 2020.”
If we’ve learned anything from the summer spent outdoors, it’s that our social lives are more weather dependent than ever. But as we head into the winter months, Scott Haas, the author of “Why Be Happy? The Japanese Way of Acceptance,” suggests that rather than look at a raw, dreary day as a source of disappointment, we should embrace the moment and pay attention to how the mist falls on the trees. “You have to adjust to the situation,” he said.
And if we want to see each other on days when the weather won’t cooperate, we’re going to have to put on enough layers to make it happen. “Either we’re going to say, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to be stuck inside all winter,’ or we do something different,” Mr. Haas said.