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Celebrate Long Nights this Fall Season

The daylight hours are shrinking and this gives us the opportunity to embrace and celebrate long nights. This doesn’t come naturally to many of us, especially in this day of artificial light and electronic screens lighting up every nook and cranny of a home. It can be hard for any number of reasons to celebrate darkness when we’re all so very used to glaring brightness at all hours of the day and night.

Candles in front of a frosted window at dusk

It is worth setting aside some time to celebrate and embrace the darkness that comes with this Autumnal season. This season of darkness has a lot to teach us about rest and rejuvenation and yes even about light. Take some time to implement small changes at home that can how you celebrate long, dark nights at home. 

Light a Candle

Better to light a candle than curse the darkness is more than just a philosophical proverb. A candle has a way of softening the edges that electric light can’t. Candles also have a way signaling special occasions. Those flickering flames help us slow down for just a few minutes and relax.

The easiest way to have candles be part of the darkness celebration is to simply leave some in the center of the table as much as possible. Have meals by candlelight, get yourself a stack of books to read in the fall, and journal at the table by that same candlelight. Color pictures, draw, knit, etc, using those flames. Play games with the family, make shadow puppets with the candlelight. Simply make the candles and the light they provide a focal point now and then rather than wishing for more daylight. 

The candles themselves do not have to be super fancy or expensive. If on a budget, look to thrift stores and buy used ones. Make your own candles if you’re so inclined. Simply light a few candles and enjoy that warm glow. 

Autumn brings shrinking daylight hours which can be hard to embrace. However, when we make a few simple changes we can celebrate long nights with joy.

Warming Scents

As the nights get longer, the air tends to get chillier and many of us start leaving doors and windows closed more often. The air can get stale. Scent plays a giant part in our emotional well being and having everything shut up gives us a chance to fill our home with smells of our choosing. Fall is a great time for warm, spicy scents. 

Use scented candles at the table if that’s easiest. Make potpourri from apple peels and cinnamon sticks and let is simmer easily on the stove for some added moisture in the air as well as scent. Diffuse essential oils. 

A collage of photos featuring candles in front of frosted window, and a pink sky at twilight with text overlay.

This shouldn’t be about filling our homes with chemicals but rather filling the home with natural smells that help us relax and enjoy the darkness. Use scents that help you feel most at ease and that welcome you when you walk in the door after a long day. There’s truly no right or wrong here, just pick a natural scent that feels like fall and home to you.

Hot Drinks

The darkness usually brings chilly if not downright cold temperatures. A cup of something warm to hold and sip brings comfort on so many different levels. Obviously, the physical warmth of the cup in our hands can be incredible especially after being outdoors. Beyond that though for many of us, a warm cup of tea or cocoa soothes our spirits too. 

Autumn brings shrinking daylight hours which can be hard to embrace. However, when we make a few simple changes we can celebrate long nights with joy.

Keep your favorites close at hand and ready for when the urge strikes. Keep dried herbs stocked for tea. Make sure there’s a collection of chocolate for hot chocolate making. Even keep a few bottles of something for hot toddies for the adults when the urge strikes.

Walk in the Darkness

Instead of huddling up inside in the darkness, go out into it when possible. A walk in complete darkness might not be doable. It’s okay, even good, to walk around a lighted neighborhood. Use headlamps if your street isn’t lighted and darkness is uncomfortable or feels unsafe.

If walking in complete darkness feels impossible for safety or other reasons, go out as the light begins to change. Take a walk at dawn or dusk when the world is in between night and day. Carry a flashlight so that cars can see you as they drive by.

Autumn brings shrinking daylight hours which can be hard to embrace. However, when we make a few simple changes we can celebrate long nights with joy.

This bit of time in the darkness can have a powerful effect on how we see and interact with the long nights. They no longer become hours that force us inside but rather become a celebration and appreciation of nature in all of her phases. 

Go to Bed

Embrace the natural rhythm of the earth and sleep when it’s dark. I know, this runs counter to our modern thoughts of going constantly and checking email and social media every 10 minutes. Stop that. Allow the body and brain to rest in the natural rhythm of light and dark.  

Ok, I know we have to get up for school and work. We still have to keep up with our modern responsibilities and lifestyle. However, we can do that and sleep for another hour or so every now and then. There’s a certain gentle rest that comes from allowing the body to set with natural rhythm of the sun. 

A lamp lit up beside a quilt covered bed in a dark room.

This fall as the light changes rather than fear the dark embrace it by celebrating it. Welcome this season of darkness, its place in the natural rhythm of not just nature but in the home as well. These are small things but doing them throughout the season can really change our mindset from one of dread to one of understanding and celebration.

Please note: While these things might help on some surface level, they are not going to cure seasonal affective disorder please seek trained medical help for that condition. 

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Wednesday 28th of October 2020

I LIVE for fall and winter. I love those "blustery days" as Winnie the Pooh calls them. Winter is a perfect time for crafts, sewing, crocheting, reading and organizing one's home. It is a good time to throw "stuff" we have let pile up, clean out drawers and closets and snuggle by the fire. Candles are a wonderful suggestion and I use them all over the house; that and little fairy lights which bring a beautiful ambience to any room. And, snow, well that's just icing on the cake! Thanks for the suggestions, Kathie.

Rose Felton

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Nice article. I am up at 5am while it is still dark. I love this time of day. I even walk through the house without any light on, but there are little lights from electrical items that helps me know where things are. After taking care of our dogs I sit down at my computer which is next to 2 windows. I get to watch the sun come up from there. Although a beautiful sight it's sometimes sad for me as I know the quiet solitude of the darkness is now gone.

laurie harmon

Sunday 22nd of September 2019

Love these suggestions and especially your blurb at the end about Seasonal Affective Disorder. I struggle with that but think using these tips can help in addition to the methods I use for S,A,D.

Patti D

Thursday 25th of October 2018

I agree with Ellen T. Thank you for your encouragement to get outside in the in between times. Dawn and dusk are truly beautiful times of the day to embrace. I'm blessed that my husband and I often enjoy those times in the comfort of our hot tub. That might not seem like what you had in mind but we enjoy watching the light change and nature waking up or settling down to rest.

Kathie Lapcevic

Tuesday 30th of October 2018

I think sitting in the hot tub sounds just perfect!


Thursday 5th of October 2017

Thank you this is my favourite time of year x