The wind is howling outside, evergreen branches bending with the force. My cats look at me as if I am crazy when I inquire if they would like to go out. The dog, on the other hand, sits at the door begging for a walk, through rain, sleet, snow, gloom of night, and today's gusty winds. I really feel for the mail carriers who must deliver to us at all costs.
My Christmas flag can be heard from the front porch, snapping Santa to attention with each gust. Many times through out the year I lament that I need to move south, that I cannot survive another winter in the mountains of Pennsylvania. And then the Christmas season arrives, and you couldn't pay me to be anywhere else. For me, the spirit of the holiday's is tied up in warming ourselves by the fire, shoveling the first snow, and hunkering down under handmade quilts and soft, fleecy blankets in the colors of Christmas, the obligatory cup of cocoa in hand.
I don't know anyone who bakes cookies when it is 85 degrees outside. The real tradition is to gather in the warmest room in the house and create delicate Christmas confections....the mouthwatering kind, that signal your tastebuds as the tantalizing aroma spreads through the house. We have our family favorites, some for ease of preparation, and the rest because everyone has requests for their hearts desire. Just what would Christmas be without this tradition?! My daughter and I have begun a tasty new tradition of dipping pretzel sticks in white chocolate, then covering them with red and green sprinkles to resemble glittery, little matchsticks. Bet your can't eat just one!
I neglected to mention the real winter treat for kids....and teachers....alike. THE SNOW DAY. Not reserved for the faint at heart, a day without school is filled instead with sledding, snowball fights, skiing, and ice skating. And hot chocolate. Making snow angels, building forts, and rolling a snowman into existance. And hot chocolate. Eating "snow" cones, shoveling, and...did I mention...hot chocolate?
Old man winter can blow all he wants. Jack Frost can do his best. But, I will settle in by the fire with a good book, some good music, and an animal or two at my feet. Then, perhaps for a change, a cup of tea.
A warm country hug to all,