December Greetings: Winter is fleeting

December is here, but snow is not.

Once upon a time, snow would fall on Halloween. As the drought dragged on, we were lucky to have snow on Thanksgiving. Now, we are over a week into December without a single flake. I didn’t grow up in the snow. Most of childhood was full of hot, humid summers and dry, gray winters. I didn’t have a white Christmas until high school.

But it doesn’t feel like the holiday season without snow.

Every year I complain about the wet and cold like an old, arthritic woman. I hibernate in my apartment with blankets and hot cocoa until spring thaws the ground. This year, December has come in mild and dry- and I almost miss my yearly torment. The frigid air and frozen participation serves to contrast the warmth and comfort of home and family. The nights are longer and darker than ever, but it feels half-hearted. As a result, my usual hibernation has felt more dull than cozy. I never thought I’d say it, but without the cold and snow, winter loses its charm.

I recently learned of the Danish and Norwegian concept of Hygge.

Being averse to winter and cold, I never understood how Scandinavian people survived the northern weather. The thought of being buried in feet of snow sounded like torture to me, but Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland are among the happiest nations in the world. While their social programs and economies do help, their cultural contributes cannot be ignored. When the darkness grows and the temperature drops; our friends to the north turn to Hygge: a concept of feeling contentment and comfort in small things.

The smallest things do make a difference.

The warmth of a blanket, steam rising from a mug, the purr of my cat, the flickering of a candles flame: these all make me feel relaxed and cozy. When the weather outside is frightful, I find a fire so delightful. While I still love fluffy blankets, warm drinks, etc. all year round- they all hit different when they are a refuge from a winter storm.

Winter is short and fleeting.

Every year, winter gets shorter here in Utah; the snow comes later, and melts sooner. Does this mean my yearly hibernation will get shorter too? I never thought I’d miss the snow, but as winter flies by, I find myself longing for that white blanket of frost.

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