The signs of coming winter are everywhere. Falling leaves make us head indoors and think about fires and warm drinks. As the freezing temperatures tend to go on for months, however, everyone gets tired of being cooped up in the house, and you might start to miss the time you spent in your enclosed porch over the spring, summer and fall. If you have three season porch enclosure, you may be surprised at the way this can actually be used in that fourth season: winter. Here are some fun ideas:

Redecorating Porches for Winter

Use the winter season to do a make-over of your porch for the season. Here are some ideas for freshening up:

  • Lights: Because darkness comes faster in winter, make sure you have lights to lead up your outside path to the porch. You might even want to add some interior white hanging lights to brighten up the interior.
  • Plants: Make sure any plants in your porch are able to handle the cooler weather. Take out any dead leaves and add in some winter decorations like twigs, found greenery, or craft store decorations.
  • Upholstery: Change out your summer upholstery with seasonal cushions, pillows, and throws that invite people to sit down and be warm and comfortable.
  • Decorations: Hang a beautiful evergreen, decorated straw, or grapevine wreath on the door. Choose all white decorations for a classic look, or for drama use bright colors like burgundy, navy and black, or choose a more modern color scheme like teal and orange to brighten up your porch.
  • Themes: Your winter porch is the perfect place to try a decorative theme you've been admiring in magazines or in stores. For example, you might want to use gold or silver themed accents and ribbon, or go natural by using winter gourds in baskets along with twigs and leaves. You can even focus on family memories by displaying pictures and favorite mementos.

Decorate for the Holidays

Take advantage of the fact that your porch provides a place to decorate which is protected from the weather. You might even want to set up special holiday decorations you've collected or maybe use that space for displaying artwork made by your kids and grandkids. 

Light up space by using a hurricane lamp on the table, or make some ice lantern luminaries to decorate in keeping with the season. Add some warm wraps on the porch chairs so people can snuggle up and enjoy the winter view and decorations. If you have an outlet for electricity on your porch, you might want to add an electric kettle and some tea, hot cider and hot chocolate packages to make the porch a place to rest and linger, and maybe even read a book. Add this room to your list as you and your family hang the green.

Host a Sing-Along and Hot Chocolate Party

Another great way to make the most of your three season porch enclosure is by hosting a sing-along and hot chocolate party. Gather friends and family together to bundle up and get ready to sing. Be sure everyone has:

  • Flashlights
  • Warm clothes, coats, mittens, and hats
  • Bells or keys to jingle
  • Song sheets for familiar carols

Gather in your warm addition to practice singing some songs, then head out around the neighborhood to spread some joy and cheer. When you've finished caroling, head back for a hot chocolate bar. Here are some ideas of what to provide:

  • Hot milk
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whip cream
  • Peppermint sticks for stirring (dip in white chocolate to make them fancy)
  • Vanilla sugar
  • Marshmallows
  • Different colors of sprinkles
  • Candies like M&M's crushed peanut butter cups and toffee bits

To make this even more of an event, you can invite your guests to bring some of their favorite cookies along to enjoy together. You might even have a cookie exchange or give each other favorite recipes. Who knows? This could easily become an annual event for your neighborhood.

Make a Bird-Viewing Station

Feeding the birds in the winter not only will attract more birds to your home, but make your porch an enjoyable viewing station. You can hang feeders around your porch in the trees or eaves. For an even closer look, get a feeder that has suction cups to attach to your porch windows. Here are some of the seeds recommended by the Audubon Society for winter feeding:

  • Safflower, black oil sunflower, niger and thistle seed
  • Any Songbird variety mixed seed
  • Cracked corn
  • Peanuts
  • Suet feeders for woodpeckers
  • Orange halves for orioles
  • Dried fruit for overwintering insect eaters

Make a holiday tree for the birds by placing treats for birds on and an evergreen tree planted or placed outside your porch. You can decorate the tree with:

  • Suet pinecones: make your own by filling pinecones with Crisco and rolling them in bird seed.
  • Strings of popcorn and cranberries
  • Pieces of fruit like oranges, and apples
  • Donuts

Everyone will enjoy taking a few minutes each day to peek at the feathered visitors!

Family Winter Camping Trip

Need a break during the winter? Use your porch for a winter vacation get-away. Plan it like you would a real winter camping trip. Set up some tents, get sleeping bags, flashlights, and snacks like trail mix. Put some pine cones or the essential oil of pine around the room to get that woodsy smell.

If you have a fireplace or fire pit, you can roast hot dogs and marshmallows for s'mores. If you don't have a fireplace, candles work fine to roast marshmallows too. Eat picnic style on the floor. Look out at the stars, or watch a movie in the tent. Play card games or your favorite family board games. Tell stories and make sure that everyone only uses flashlights when the sun goes down. The best part of this camping trip is that real restrooms are just a few steps away!

Three Season Porch in Winter

Dizzy with the possibilities? Just let your creativity flow and you will probably think of more ways to use your three season porch enclosure during the winter. Don't miss out on using yours year-round!