Happy New Year to all!
Many of us will be gathering with friends and family tonight, celebrating the beginning of 2016, and toasting to a fresh slate of health and happiness in the year ahead.
I am fortunate to be with friends at a home in northern Wisconsin. That has led me to thinking about socializing in the frozen areas of the United States. Hosts have challenges throwing parties in winter that our milder climate friends may not have to think about.
For one thing, where do you put all your guests’ coats? And not just coats. If it is cold outside, each guest has a big, warm coat, boots, a hat, scarf and mittens. If it snowing out, all of those items are full of ice and snow, which will melt in the warmth indoors. Yikes! Where to put them all? And there could be more than outdoor gear to come inside. One friend remembers attending winter party long ago when it was so cold that she and her husband took their car’s battery out of the car and brought it indoors so it would start later.
That brings up another challenge. Cars in wintertime can get into all kinds of trouble, from sliding into a snowbank on an icy road to trying to find elusive parking spots. But we are a hardy, friendly group of people in bad weather conditions. I have no doubt that people who otherwise would be at odds (Trump vs. Clinton supporters, say) will happily work together to get somebody’s car out of an eight-foot-high snowdrift, wishing each other well at the successful conclusion of helping a motorist on their way.
When there has been a recent substantial snowfall, you might find yourself dealing with specific parking instructions mandated by Snow Emergency rules. Sometimes you don’t know where to park because each city can announce a Snow Emergency with its own rules. So, when you travel to another city for a party, you have to figure out if you are free to park on the right or left hand side of the street!
Of course one of the good things about winter parties is the abundant cooling space outdoors. No room in refrigerator? No problem! Beer twelve-packs line up outside the front door, on the unheated porch, or on the deck. These outdoor spaces can also be used to keep party snacks or leftovers cold. (Tip: Keep them in a place that outdoor animals can’t access.) If the temperature is well below freezing, you may need to put the beer or food outdoors in a cooler, which might keep them from freezing quite so fast!
Even on the coldest days, many northern dwellers love to get outdoors. Today most of our group is going cross-country skiing. There are plans for an outdoor bonfire later or tomorrow, which brings up another benefit of being outdoors in the winter: NO MOSQUITOES!
Wherever you are and whatever your climate is like, best wishes for enjoyable winter celebrations.