The summer swelter is winding down at last, and many of us are starting to look longingly toward the crisp temperatures, captivating hues, and delectable flavors of the fall season.  As Labor Day retreats further and further in the rearview mirror, people are unpacking their flannels, prepping their fireplaces, and pining for the return of pumpkin spice.

Make this autumn awesome by incorporating elements of the season into everything you do. 

Below are tips for you and your family on how to capture the festive spirit of these fall months:

With lower temps around the corner, convert your home into a warm and cozy refuge. 

Don’t you love the feeling, after being out in the cool breeze of a fall evening, of coming inside to a toasty hearth and soothing scents?  Start the process now of unpacking and/or collecting things like firewood and starters (if you have a fireplace or pit), fall-scented candles, comfy blankets, and autumn-themed decorations.

  • Also, use the next few weeks to prioritize home projects and repairs that are more difficult to get done in the cool-weather months. As temperatures begin to dip, you won’t want to be battling a long-neglected draft or fixing a faulty water-heater.  Even as you enjoy the brisk weather outside, try to keep the inside a warm escape from the elements.

Fall festivities are plentiful.  Make a plan with your loved ones to take part in a number of them. 

Do this now, preferably with some visual reminders, so that you won’t to have play catch-up as the activities get rolling.

  • Keep the planning process democratic: don’t monopolize it, and do your best to factor in all of the interests expressed. Make sure that your kids, especially, feel included in the decision-making, as many fall festivities are geared toward them (e.g., trunk-or-treats).

  • If you’re constrained by your budget, that’s no problem! There are countless DIY fall activities that you can enjoy at no or minimal cost.  Think autumn-themed arts and crafts, hot cider and s’mores by the fireside at home, tent-camping in the backyard, trips to the park for impromptu games of two-hand touch.  The possibilities are endless!

  • Autumn engenders togetherness. Seize this activity-filled season to continue or christen family and friend traditions.  If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to do so, now’s the time.

Prepare your palate for fall cuisine. 

As you plan meals in the coming weeks, invite your kids to contribute a list of their fall favorites to your family menu.

  • Take this chance to educate your little ones on healthy nutrition. Autumn produce is highly diverse and versatile, so get creative in how you incorporate and introduce it.  And be sure to include your kids in the meal-prep process so that they develop a familiarity and love for it themselves.

  • Don’t forget to treat yourself to fall’s sweet side, as well. Apple cider, s’mores, and pumpkin pie are calling your name.  It’s okay to give in – at least a little!

Brace yourself for the time change. 

Autumn will usher in shorter days, especially after daylight saving time ends on November 7.  Use the fall festiveness to your advantage!

  • Whether we realize it or not, our moods are often at the mercy of the conditions outside. For many, the cold temps, overcast skies, and limited daylight hours of fall and winter exacerbate struggles with anxiety and depression.  If you identify with this, take intentional steps to create an indoor oasis that will boost and sustain your spirits.

  • Do some research into the Danish concept of hygge. In short, its premise is that coziness heightens one’s sense of contentment and contributes to one’s well-being.  Key ingredients include things like candles, plush throws, comfy sweaters, earthy tones and indoor plants.  Creating an atmosphere of hygge in your home is a wonderful way to welcome the fall and to ward off any seasonal gloom.

Autumn is right in front of us – and in Memphis, it’s one of the best, most temperate, and most lively times of the year.  Consider the pointers above as you look to make this fall a season to remember.  You have much to work with – so there’s no time like the present to get started!