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"He'll stay for more than just the milk and cookies."

Warmth in the winter. Christmas trees and Menorahs make us feel cozy. Here's why

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There are plenty of reasons to love the holiday season - time spent with our loved ones, beloved meals, family traditions, and, of course, all the splendid decorations. For those of us north of the equator, this all happens over some of the colder, darker months, and yet we associate the holidays with warmth. Why?

Sitting beside a roaring fire, swaddled in a heavy wool sweater, and sipping on hot chocolate would make anyone feel cosy. But there's more to it than that: it's all about the light.

Christmas trees and Menorahs, (along with holiday decor such as electric candles in the windows) create a sense of warmth because they're evocative of a burning campfire. I would imagine that it speaks to something hardwired into our brains from prehistoric times - the campfire represents family and shelter, warmth and sustenance.

These holiday light sources are all warm, placed relatively low in the room, and product a relatively low quantity of light. Instead of shining down on us like many lights, they glow upwards. They cast a different type of shadow, illuminate faces differently, and promote a sense of intimacy and comfort. Knowing this, we can recreate this feeling year-round.

Here are three easy tips for creating the feeling of warmth in any room, no matter the time of year:

1.Turn down the overheads. Is the overhead lighting in your living room on a dimmer switch? No? Stop reading and go install one right now. Most living rooms need some quantity of overhead lighting at night, but having half a dozen recessed lights or a large chandelier on full-strength will throw too much light into the room and make the space feel like an office building. Use a dimmer switch to drop the levels down.

2.Add lighting closer to the floor. Table lamps are great; lower is even better. After the tree is taken down, consider keeping that cozy glow going with a paper lantern floor lamp lit with a low-wattage bulb.

3.Warm bulbs. Candles, fires, and reddish Christmas tree bulbs emit light at a color temperature of approximately 1,900K. When choosing bulbs for your home, look for 2,700K or "Soft White" to most closely recreate this. You can further warm up the light coming from a lamp with a cream or pale orange shade. (By the way, those weird bluish LED tree bulbs produce light closer to 5,700K, in color temperature which makes them look icy cold.)

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