There’s “Snow” Place Like Home: a Minnesotan Reflects on Christmas

Christmas without snow is like a camel without its hump: unnatural.

Growing up in Minnesota, I’ve enjoyed snow for most of my Christmases. With snow comes cold and with cold comes a host of inconveniences—frozen fingers, dead car batteries, frostbitten cheeks, among others.

While I’d never wish minus 40-degree wind chill on my worst enemy, a brown Christmas is a sad Christmas, and I’d trade warmth for snow any day.

When I think of Christmastime, I think of the cold. I think of my living room windows fogged over as we sit around the fire. I think of the lights lining the driveways of the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. I think of the tunnels my sisters and I make in the 5-foot-tall snow bank left behind by the snowplow at the end of my driveway. I think of sledding and skiing and the snow-frosted trees that make the sub-zero temperatures somehow worth it.

People always ask me why anyone would ever want to live in Minnesota.

“It’s so cold,” they say—for the record, I’m aware.

But each season, drastic as it may be, brings something new and exciting. Winter is ice skating on the lake and building snowmen, spring is the reemergence of the dormant plants of winter, summer is water skiing and sailing, and fall is apple picking and pumpkin patching.

The seasons are important markers in my year, signaling the change of my sports, my clothes, and my pastimes. Each one brought something to look forward to and kept me from getting complacent. Each season was a chance to reboot.

It’s easy to love summer, spring, and fall, but it’s really hard to love winter. I never truly realized how bad Minnesota winters are until I moved to Boston. Countless times in high school I ran errands in sub-zero temperatures without a jacket and thought nothing of it. I was shocked my freshman year to find people bundled up when it dropped below 40. The Californians were up at 3 a.m. to videotape the first snowfall, my roommate was frightened by the sound of the snowplow, and the majority of the BC population still seems to think Bean Boots are snow-boots—they’re not.

Even though Boston has seasons, they are not as pronounced. It’s still 50 degrees in December and there hasn’t been an inch of snow. While most wouldn’t complain, I’m starting to get antsy. Fall has grown all too familiar, making me that much more excited for this semester to be over.

By this point in the year, we are all in desperate need of a change of pace. Although Christmas music and decorations have appeared all around campus, it feels forced. Not until the temperatures drop and the snow comes down will I feel like the season has changed and that I can move forward.

Don’t get me wrong—nothing about the Minnesota weather makes me believe Minnesota is the best place to live. Winters are frigid and summers are sweaty, but the challenges and pleasures that each brings make me appreciate them even more. In the great depths of winter, when it’s too cold to go outside, Minnesotans are too nice to complain and too seasoned for self-pity. It’s a rare camaraderie that I’m so fortunate to have grown up with, and one that I hope my children will experience in the future. As each winter drags on, you learn to appreciate the luxuries of summer that much more.

When it comes down to it no matter where you celebrate it, Christmas is about family and togetherness. While for many people the weather makes no difference to the holiday or the values that surround it, for me, it does. I used to think that I wouldn’t end up back in Minnesota, but the more that I’m away, the more I realize how important the traditions and customs I grew up with are to me.

I want snow on Christmas because it makes Christmas feel like Christmas and I can’t imagine it any other way.

Featured Image by Abby Paulson / Heights Graphics

Madeleine Loosbrock

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