The crisp air takes on a chilly snap as the leaves finally give up their hold on bare branches. Children stomp their feet waiting for the school bus while pets sneeze on their way back inside. The warmest mufflers come down from the top shelf, the heaviest coats tumble out of the closet, and extra blankets cover the beds.
The season debuts in late December, but the calendar only notes the day. We laugh at the first sight of our breath on a freezing day and look forward to snow that we’ll get tired of shoveling. The first day of winter is always welcomed with a shiver of anticipation as we slip into its everyday traditions.
The Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve are highlights of our coldest season, but the onset of winter is special in its own way. The fireplace lights up the family room with a beautiful glow, and the kitchen warms up with the aroma of extra baking. Even with vacation days on the horizon, children cross their fingers in hopes of snow days off.
Sidewalk shovels are retrieved from the shed, and tire chains come out of storage. The sun is on board with its late rising and early setting, giving us the winter solstice with its shortest day. We’re a little slower out of bed in the mornings, but the stars seem more brilliant on a frozen night.
Discussing Santa’s list is as important as checking it twice and baking his favorite cookies. The decorations are as beautiful as ever, and it always takes several tries to tame that crooked star. Eventually it’s perfect, and the lights come on.
That first glow of the Christmas tree takes our breath away, then it becomes a chaotic scene of packages ripped open with delight. New Year’s Eve rings in with firm resolutions as we gamely face the coldest months ahead.
Snowmen play in our yards, and snowball fights fill our streets. For all our love of the frosty weather, Groundhog Day brings the hope that there will be no shadows and that spring is right around the corner.
We know it’s time to move on to the next season. We love our winter traditions, and they will never grow old, but we are always happy to pack them away for another year.