Winter Wonder? Land

Recently a reader, living in Italy, asked “How do you Canadians manage to cope with winter?” Well, after living through the latest cold snap, followed by a big dump of snow yesterday, that question is probably on everybody’s mind. How DO we do it?

Here’s what I’ll tell her: First of all, we have 2 of everything: 2 sets of clothes, 2 books of recipes, 2 groups of activities. In the winter we abandon shorts and sandals, and switch to cute furry ear muffs, boots with traction, mittens instead of gloves, and cozy thermal underwear. We also make good use of all the spare geese around by turning them into goose down duvets and coats, so expensive that there are armed guards outside Canada Goose stores.

When it’s really cold we even wear some of these clothes to bed! (Well not the boots). It becomes automatic- allowing extra time in the mornings and evenings to get dressed and undressed. We also spend extra time in the bathroom – untucking and pulling down, then pulling up and tucking in – all those layers.

Our eating habits change in the winter too. We cover up the BBQ, and switch to hot soups and stews. One favourite ,chili, can really be quite hot with lots of spice. We don’t make winter visits to ice cream vendors; instead we go to the coffee shop and order hot chocolate. Our alcohol habits change from icy margaritas with little paper umbrellas, to hot toddies with cinnamon sticks.

We are trained to take care of our health in the winter. No insect repellant needed. Instead, we cover our bodies with moisturizer to prevent dry, itchy skin. We usually amp up our vitamin C intake and make sure to get our flu shot.

As for ” What do we do with all that time between December and March?” Instead of fluffy beach reads, we switch to longer serious tomes well suited to sitting near a cozy fire. Outside, we put on our high-traction boots and go for a walk in the snow, sometimes stopping to make a snowball and aim it at an unsuspecting partner. If we are feeling really childish, we lie down and make snow angels.

For the more athletic types, there is snow-shoeing in the woods, skiing downhill or cross-country, and curling or playing hockey. There is also a new sport – winter golf – making the scene. The little white balls are exchanged for bright orange-red ones, visible on a snow-covered fairway. And then there is skating.

I wrote about skating in my last post. It seems that skating was a winter activity in the past lives of many of us. One reader wrote to tell us that the reason skaters prefer to travel in a counter-clockwise direction is because it’s easier to turn left than right when on skates. Who knew? Another reader wrote about a vivid memory of her mother sending her out in skates that were too small and hurt her toes, maybe permanently. A third reader shared memories of being a teenager and skating, but mostly looking to meet boys, on the weekends. One more reader wrote to say she had been an avid ice dancer in her youth. Another reader sent pictures of 2 outdoor rinks made by her 2 sons for their kids. Both boys had grown up with their own rinks made by their father every winter.

And that’s how we Canadians manage to live through the winter months. Despite the added burdens of Covid this year, most of our winter activities can still take place. And we have the advantage of Zoom and other online activities when we have to stay inside. We Can Do This!

And now I am going outside to make some snow angels.


So angelic….but Peter had to help me get up.

6 thoughts on “Winter Wonder? Land

  1. Grazie Sue! Right now we are enjoying some warm bright days, it seems like spring is not too far in Italy! Un abbraccio affettuoso a te e a tutti i lettori del tuo splendido blog


  2. Great blog. Getting up is probably why seniors don’t make snow angels. That’s also why it’s a good idea not to fall when skiing! Ski patrollers don’t take kindly to picking up uninjured people who just can’t get up. Besides it would get pretty cold waiting for them.


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