12 Ways to Celebrate National Cuddle Up Day
Settle in for a night of guilt-free relaxation.
Though I just discovered National Cuddle Up Day this year, I think it’s earned a spot in my top five favorite holidays. It’s not every day you’re given a totally legitimate reason to hit the sofa at 5 p.m. — and stay there all night. There are health benefits involved, too. Cuddling releases the hormone oxytocin, which reduces pain and gives you the warm fuzzies. And when it’s this cold outside, we could all use a dose of the warm fuzzies.
I’m sharing 12 ideas to make your cuddle sesh top notch. So, beat the cold temperatures and embrace #nationalcuddleupday.
Pull Out All the Faux-Fur Things
Cuddling requires all the fuzzy, furry, soft things you can find. Locate those faux-fur blankets and pillows, and put them to good use. Lacking in the faux-fur department? Do some online shopping while you’re at it.
Simmer Stovetop Scents
Cook up an aroma that’s as warm and sweet as your snuggle session. Try one of our 11 easy stovetop scent recipes.
Candles create instant ambience. Their soft glow will help set the tone for a relaxing evening.
Make Warm Cocktails
Flynnside Out Productions
Take the chill off with some toasty, tasty cocktails.
Boozy Chocolate-Covered Cherry Hot Cocoa
A magical blending of orgeat syrup, brandy and creme de cacao ensure this warm and creamy cocktail tastes just like decadent chocolate-covered cherries. Get the recipe.
Tipsy S'mores Cocktail
What would fall be without chocolatey, gooey s'mores?! This adults-only sip combines all the goodness of the campfire classic with a soul-warming boozy kick. Toasted marshmallows add a tasty finishing touch. Get the recipe.
Hot Cherry Pie Cocktail
Cherry, vanilla and amaretto give this cocktail all the flavors of a hot-from-the-oven cherry pie. The whipped cream and pie crust crumble make it as pretty as it is tasty. Get the recipe.
Coconut Cream Pie Cocktail
When it's cold outside, warm up with this indulgent cocktail that tastes like rich coconut cream pie. Topped with toasted coconut and graham cracker crumbs, it's a boozy twist on the classic dessert. Get the recipe.
Spiced Cappucini Cocktail
Stir Old Tom gin, Licor43 and Kahlua into strong brewed coffee then top with whipped cream and freshly ground nutmeg for an after-dinner drink that's perfect to enjoy while catching up with family and friends. Get the recipe.
Mexican Hot Cocoa and Puff Pastry Cinnamon Sticks
Spike this traditional, pepper-infused Mexican cocoa with your favorite tequila — or even rum, coffee-flavored liqueur or whiskey — for a soul-warming sip. Get the recipe.
Spiked Hazelnut Hot Cocoa
Add a splash of hazelnut liqueur to this made-from-scratch hot cocoa recipe then top with whipped cream, chocolatey hazelnut spread and chocolate-covered cookies for a chill-busting drink that borders on being a dessert. Get the recipe.
Irish whiskey and a dollop of whipped cream are all you need to turn a cup of coffee into this cold-weather classic. This drink isn't overly rich so it pairs well with dessert yet is tasty enough to serve on its own. Get the recipe.
Warm Apple Pie Cocktail
This apple-cider-based cocktail gets its kick courtesy of Tuaca, a delicious Italian liqueur made with citrus peels, spices and vanilla. Before serving, add a fresh cinnamon stick for an extra bit of spice. Get the recipe.
Hot Buttered Rum
Gather with friends and family around a roaring outdoor fire to enjoy this soul-soothing cocktail. Hot milk, brown sugar, dark rum and real butter give this drink its signature flavor. Get the recipe.
Toasty Hot Chocolate With a Kick
Almost a dessert in itself, this cold-weather cocktail is warm, chocolatey and creamy. For guests with a sweet tooth, it's the perfect late-night or after-dinner cocktail. Get the recipe.
Spice Up Hot Chocolate Mix
Take storebought cocoa from boring to blissfully boozy with a shot of your favorite flavored liqueur — peppermint, cinnamon and butterscotch schnapps are safe bets — or liquor, like bourbon, whiskey, tequila or vodka. Make your cup extra creamy using a combination of half and half and milk.
Classic Hot Toddy
This classic combination of whiskey, lemon and honey not only is good for what ails you but its mellow flavor is the perfect complement to rich Thanksgiving desserts. Get the recipe.
Make Soup or Stew
A cozy night in calls for a hearty bowl of soup or stew. Try one of these five healthy recipes that won’t interfere with your New Year’s resolution.
Put Your Slow Cooker to Use
Crock Pot Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Man Topper
Step 1 - Combine Ingredients in Crock Pot Set slow cooker to the low or warm setting. Combine all ingredients for hot chocolate into the slow cooker and stir together.
Brian Patrick Flynn, FlynnsideOut
If you’d rather not move from your sofa, throw dinner or dessert (because I won’t judge you for eating dessert in place of dinner on a night such as this) in the slow cooker before you plop down. Get 12 easy, delicious slow cooker recipes.
Hang String Lights
Cozy Family Room Features Playful Lighting
Whimsical lighting steals the show in this cozy family room. Behind the sofa, string lights gracefully adorn the wall, and above the armchair, a lighted art installation adds a cool, crisp pattern to the space.
Claire Esparros for Homepolish
Feeling a bit sad about taking down your holiday decor? Consider hanging string lights like these for a cozy but stylish living room update.
Decorate Your Mantel for Winter
Contemporary Black and White Fireplace Decor With Natural Elements
Bright whites and simple natural elements dress up this winter mantel display . Terra-cotta pots painted in metallic colors add shine, as do the glitter highlights on pine cones gathered from the woods. Candles and lanterns provide a warm glow, great for cold winter nights.
I have this slightly obsessive quality where I can’t quite relax in a space until I’m satisfied with the decor. If you happen to share this compulsion, you might want to decorate your mantel for winter before you cuddle up. Or you might not, which is totally fine, too.
Modern + Graphic
Evoke Scandinavian style in your home this winter with an all-white, minimalist display. Cassie Freeman of Hi Sugarplum! accented her white fireplace with a geometric mirror, silver candlesticks, white reindeer and a vase of magnolia leaves from her yard. A flokati rug draped over the base of the fireplace adds warmth and coziness.
The soft creams and browns in this picture of Salt Lake Temple reminded Leanne Jacobs of winter, providing the basis for her winter mantel. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Leanne wanted a simple, toned-down display, so she paired a few silver candlesticks with ornaments and a glittery bird. Glittering snowflakes hung with clothespins on baker's twine create a sparkling banner that adds shine to the muted mantel.
Holiday or Not? Transitional Mantel Display
Love the idea of dressing up your mantel all winter, but can't imagine it without the usual stockings, mini trees and other festive knickknacks? Go transitional. Create a base of winter greenery and lights, then layer on the Christmas. After the holidays, switch out the Christmas music candles for plain ones and pack away the trees and stockings. Leave the flocked evergreen garland, shiny votives, crystal and silver candlesticks and even the boxwood wreath for a fantastically decorated fireplace focal point for the remainder of the cold-weather season.
Sleek, Shiny and Silver
Silver often plays second fiddle to its more audacious golden cousin when it's time to break out the holiday decor, but don't overlook this shining shade. In this display from Pottery Barn, just a few candles are enough to create a gauzy glow, thanks to silver's reflective sheen. It's all about brightness here: Crystal spheres, shimmering snowflakes and delicate white flowers shooting from etched-silver pots add up to create a warm and wintry fireplace focal point.
Dressed-Up Midcentury Modern
Decorator Erin Cochran uses the minimalist shelving of her midcentury-modern home as a staging ground for her fireplace finery. In keeping with the home's feel, she chooses to artfully arrange clean-lined, wintry-colored vintage pieces. Strings of white lights run in the back, creating a soft glow through the timeworn glass bottles, milky-shaded pottery and delicate paper-craft art. Pinecones and shoots of evergreens add visual interest by breaking up the smooth white theme with their sharp colors and lines.
Green + Sparkling Neutrals
Alissa Ditta keeps her blog's 33 Shades of Green theme going by blending hues of bright green with silver and brown. Cedar topiaries and a peace banner made from glittered cardboard letters make the mantelscape great for the holidays, but the display isn't so Christmas-y that it can't stick around all season. Mercury-glass vases and candleholders are a sparkling accent to the natural elements.
Let It Snow
Andrea Schuneman makes an enchanting snowy display using framed photo prints and white vases. After layering a large mirror, the vases and picture frames, Andrea still had space to fill, so she found a quote she liked and put it on a lattice-framed chalkboard. A teeny hourglass is a reminder that spring is right around the corner.
Alternative Winter Display
Winter doesn't always have to mean just pinecones and evergreens. Joan Ross strays from the norm, mixing natural elements like a topiary, a tree conk and a beehive with brass candlesticks and antique French confit pots. The pots add earthy warmth to the mantel while their imperfections give the display a one-of-a-kind look.
Borrow From Nature
Decor Adventures' Jessica Wangelin dreamed of lush greenery, so she adorned her mantel with thick pieces of faux garland layered with real evergreen branches and glitter-tipped pinecones. Instead of buying the antiqued mirror, she made one by cutting a door mirror, distressing it and then piecing it back together inside a poster frame.
Keep It Cozy
Vase "sweaters" made from an old pair of socks, gold poinsettias and a cute "Brrr" printout set the perfect mood for curling up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Beaded icicle garland and snowflake ornaments add cool whimsical touches to this warm display. Design by Erin Cook
Budget Winter Display
Nicole Wilkinson proves an elegant winter display doesn't have to cost a lot: She made these cozy vase covers from a thrifted sweater and filled them with soft brown grass from her backyard. The old windowpane ties the arrangement together.
Snowflake candleholders, decorations and scrapbook-paper snowflakes make Gina Martello's mantel a charming display. Inspired by cold, snowy weather, Gina keeps the arrangement simple with two hurricane vases filled with silver berry garlands and a white metal container filled with pinecones collected on a trip to Maine. An empty wooden frame creates the perfect backdrop for the arrangement's centerpiece — a large shimmering star from Pier 1.
Chalkboard Winter Wonderland
Hoosier Homemade author Liz Latham's playful winter display makes every day feel like a snow day. Drawing inspiration from her favorite winter activities, Liz created a colorful scene on a chalkboard (actually a very old piece of slate). She then matched it with antique skates, snowmen and a long piece of wool fabric bunched up to look like a blanket. She also added aqua mason jars to her arrangement, filling two with Epsom salt and a battery-operated tea-light candle and one with plenty of marshmallows.
Orange: Not Just For Fall
Orange is typically thought of as a fall hue, but when used carefully and creatively, it's a lively accent color perfect for winter, too. Here, designer Jenna Burger creates a warm and inviting atmosphere by blending orange with brown and cream colors. A lantern and vintage cheese box give the display a rustic feel, while bright, fresh flowers create an energetic vibe without being too overpowering.
Simple and Natural
Bright whites and simple natural elements dress up this mantel in Jessica Wangelin's 112-year-old upstate New York home. Terra-cotta pots painted in metallic colors add shine, as do the glitter highlights on pinecones gathered from the woods. Candles and lanterns give off a warm glow, great for cold winter nights.
Think Outside the Holiday Section
Forget garland and glitter — sometimes all you need to make a winter scene is an arrangement of the right colors and textures. Lima beans are the perfect creamy white, while a coffee filter-lined mirror captures the light and airiness of winter. For an icy, snowy look, try filling vases or mason jars with Epsom salt. Design by Maryann Caballero
Rustic Winter Display
Created by the design team of Christi Cline and Sallie Hallmark, this mantel at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colo., pulls off a festive winter look with nary a garland or light string in sight. By choosing accessories like berry-laden wreaths, raffia spheres and even a vintage lantern, they created a visually interesting and rustically authentic display that delights guests all season long. Photo courtesy of Vista Verde Guest Ranch
Shop Your Yard for Greenery
Cassie Freeman wanted a magnolia wreath to decorate her home throughout the holiday season without breaking the bank. Luckily, the Hi Sugarplum! blogger had a magnolia tree growing right in her backyard, so she made one herself. Head outside to get inspired by the evergreen trees, berry-filled shrubs or even dead branches in your yard.
Lit Up and Toned Down
While grand and gilded works for some fireplaces, it's not right for all of them. This display, created by Roxanne Cave for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in Whistler, British Columbia, skips the evergreen shoots and poinsettias, but not the seasonal feel. Large off-white vases filled with snow-colored tulips flank the firebox, while candles of different height and intensity create light and interest on the mantel.
Make Scented Pinecone Fire Starters
DIY Pinecone Fire Starters 03:29
If you have a fireplace, you should most definitely have a fire (see next idea). And if you’re going to have a fire, you should most definitely make these scented pinecone fire starters. Because, scented pinecones = yum.
Have a Fire
Pink Eclectic Living Room With Fireplace
Natural light fills this bright, eclectic living room that combines Hollywood Regency elements. The brick wall with fireplace and mirror become a focal point when flanked by custom built in bookcases and space for firewood.
Is there anything cozier than a crackling fire in the fireplace?
Cuddle Up With Your Dog + Cat
Flynnside Out Productions
National Cuddle Up Day is the perfect day to love on your furry friends.
Knit Something While You’re Cuddled
While you’re curled up on your sofa binge-watching Netflix, keep your hands busy with a knitting project. Or, get started on that 2017 resolution and read a new book. Whatever you do, enjoy those cuddles!