Winter Happiness Challenge, The

7 December 2023

The Winter Happiness Challenge
by Denise Leduc
Published by Lilac Arch Press
Review by Michelle Shaw
$22.99 ISBN 9781998872077

Depression can be a nagging companion over the winter months, so I grabbed this little book with great anticipation. To my delight, I found it provided a carefully curated toolbox to help readers through the cold and sometimes dreary months of winter.

The book grew out of a Facebook group that Denise Leduc started one November a few years ago, when she noticed that several people around her were going through a tough time. “I thought it might be fun to do some weekly challenges to bring some simple pleasures and joy to our daily rounds. I had been rereading some books on hygge [a Scandinavian term that evokes cozy, comforting and contented living, often through simple pleasures] and I thought we could explore various Scandinavian concepts to get us through the cold, snowy Canadian months.”

The original members of the group invited others and before Denise knew it, more than 100 people from all over Canada, the United States and England had joined.

The group proved to be such an encouragement for herself and the other members that Denise began to conceive the idea of a book and decided to put out a call for submissions to photographers, artists, and writers.

The result is a slim book packed with possibilities.

The Winter Happiness Challenge is divided into weekly sections spanning five months from November to March. There are weekly challenges and prompts interspersed with drawings, paintings, photographs, short stories, prose and poetry.

The bookis jampacked with ideas: reading challenges, recipes, feel good movie ideas, as well as suggestions on letter writing, writing a haiku and creating an Advent of Kindness.

I instantly connected with the book. I found that the weekly format gives me something to look forward to as winter progresses. I was also intrigued to discover that the photographs, stories and poems gave me a sense of connection and a realisation that I’m not alone: other people are going through this season with me.

I think the book can be used in various ways. Read it weekly, dip in and out on a regular basis, use it purely for inspiration or start your own on-line or in-person group.

Whatever way you choose, I think this little book will be a wonderful addition to your winter toolbox.


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