Friday night topic: Winter rituals

— 6:36 PM on December 8, 2006

Temperatures outside are below freezing, and the wind adds a bitter chill to the weather. Daylight doesn't last too long these days, and the ground is covered with patches of ice, frozen remnants of last week's snow. In short, it's miserable out, potentially quite depressing. Yet we have all manner of rituals in effect around us during these winter months that act as an antidote to winter's effects. A fire burns in the fireplace—unnecessary thanks to our gas furnace, but somehow oddly comforting. Christmas music plays in the background as we contemplate how to decorate the poor pine tree that we just cut down and dragged inside. The smell of hot chocolate hangs in the air. Outside, Christmas lights illuminate the houses up and down our street. I suppose many folks would get depressed or worse during these months without the rituals, but sometimes I struggle just to keep up with it all.

Is winter cold and depressing where you live? Are ritualized winter activities like these a big deal there, and if so, do you have any to which you're particularly attached? Do you think there's a connection between cold-weather climates and winter rituals, or are such things just as popular in warmer locales? Discuss.

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