Do you have any first day of winter/first snowfall traditions?
One of our foxes asked that question for this week, and it definitely had me stumped. We get plenty of snow here in West Michigan, but I honestly can’t think of any traditions connected with the first day of winter or the first snowfall.
December 21, the first day of winter, was almost a month ago. Back when I was teaching elementary school I’d often search for winter-related materials, but since we’d be preparing for Christmas parties and the holiday break, I wouldn’t actually use those materials until January. Now that I’m on a college schedule I’m on vacation by that time, so I’m at home preparing for our family holiday gatherings.
Our family has never been into outdoor activities, and that’s especially true in winter. We don’t ski, sled, or ice skate on a regular basis. I know we made snowmen once or twice – but that’s it. Basically, all I remember about being in the snow was walking as quickly as I could manage so that I could get back inside. When my kids were young I used to take them to a place nearby called Charlie’s Dump – it’s a huge bowl in the earth where local kids go to use their sleds, tobaggans, and snowboards. There are benches at the top for parents to sit, but I usually sat in my car (once the kids were old enough to be on their own) or told them I’d be back in an hour or two. Now that they’re adults they can get themselves to whatever activities they like, but I haven’t heard them say anything about doing outdoor things.
I do remember the kids drinking hot cocoa after they’d come in from the cold. Since I taught in a different school district than the one my children attended, I wasn’t there to see it, but fortunately my husband was (he worked the 3 am to noon shift, so he was always home before the kids). Our house was only three blocks away from the elementary school, and sometimes they would invite a friend or two to come in and have a cup before braving the cold for the rest of the walk home. We always made sure we were always well stocked with cocoa mix and marshmallows.
As an adult, winter weather simply means bad driving conditions. I’ve had more than my share of white-knuckle trips to work, appointments, and rehearsals. I’ve had more than a few near-misses, and times when I doubted my sanity for sitting behind the wheel. So I guess I do have one winter tradition: looking forward to it all going away!