Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prompt: The Onset of Winter

Usually winter preparations start sometime around the beginning of November - by this time, they've all been done. I've touched a bit on this topic before, but to re-cap... First, the heaters are cleaned a bit, and then allowed to run for a while to be sure there's no problems. I do this when it's still a bit warmer out, because if there are issues I want them sorted before the cold sets in! While it's still a bit warm, and windows can be opened to bring in fresh air, it's nice to do a good cleaning of the house.

Soon after, light summer blankets are switched out to warmer winter quilts. The hot water bottle is brought out of storage, which we use to warm the foot of the bed on cold nights. Summer clothes are put deeper into the closet, and long-sleeve shirts and sweaters move to the front. Winter jackets eventually make their way out of the closet (while lighter rain jackets and such are put away), along with heavy boots, gloves, scarves, and hats. The little emergency kit in the car has some additional winter items put into it - thicker gloves, blanket, extra snacks, and so on.

A while back, I wrote a little bit about general preparedness here. Before winter comes I like to double check that we have plenty of supplies on hand, and that they're still in good working condition. In New Hampshire, it's not uncommon to lose power for a day, or a few days, during winter storms - it's best to be ready for that sort of thing. That means flashlights and batteries, extra food and snacks, and some bottled water.

When visiting my grandparents, there's usually some things to help out with there, too. Putting up plastic around the screen porch, for example - keeps the porch warmer, and keeps the snow out.

Like I said, by now all this has been long done. With the work out of the way, there's plenty of time for the funner winter activities - decorating, gift shopping, winter crafts, and the like. Which I suppose answers the last question in the prompt! I'm a big fan of the winter holidays. I get to put up pretty lights and garlands, make fun decorations, buy or make gifts for family and friends, and cook tons of treats (alright, so maybe I'm always doing that last part). Yeah, it can get a bit stressful at times, but for the most part it's an enjoyable time of year. (Yes, I even like Christmas music.)

As for the holidays being nothing like the originals? Well, I mean, in what way? A ton of traditional Christmas decorations, foods, and traditions have very old roots. Likewise, it's not as if family gatherings, festive dinners, and small gift exchanges are new concepts. Or maybe it's more to do with the commercialization that surrounds this time? Either way, I suppose it's not exactly like the old days... Then again, what is? It's not something I worry about. My path is a mix of old and new, so I don't think my holiday celebrations should be any different. I'm able to blend in my personal celebration of the solstice with the bigger celebration of Christmas, and then the family traditions that surround the new year. Don't think I'd have it any other way, really.

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