Monday, December 22, 2014

Are White Christmases Worth It?

Christmas is really close now.  For many, it’ll soon be time to travel to be with loved ones for the holiday.  That can be a headache.  Airports are loaded with people; the TSA screeners’ hands are probably ready to fall off by Christmas Eve.  The highways are full of stressed drivers careening from lane to lane.  And you’d better hope it doesn’t snow.

Wait… but that’s what people want, right?  If all those Christmas songs they play in the stores have taught me anything, it’s that people are dreaming of white Christmases, just like the ones they used to know.  (I sure as hell hope they’re referring to snow....)  But ice and snow makes getting to Grandma’s house dangerous.  You’ll end up freezing in the river or wrapped around a tree in the woods if you’re not careful.

So are white Christmases really worth it?  I originally was going to address this question in my post about the pros and cons of the holidays, but then I thought about the fact that plenty of people live in places where snow during Christmas would be unheard of, and I wanted to only address the most common holiday elements.

Well, I live far enough north that a number of my Christmases (though not all) have been white.  So… are they worth it?  To me, that depends, as you might have already guessed, on your travel plans.  Sure, a snowy Christmas can look quite pretty and add that last little touch to really get you into Christmas mode, but if you’re the one who has to drive somewhere in it, that’s another story. 

I never really thought about the full ramifications of a white Christmas until I was 17, the first time I had to drive myself for it.  That year was one hell of a white Christmas.  Something like 3 feet of snow fell at my grandparents’ house on Dec. 25th, followed by an ice storm.  Having a small car, I was trapped in anyway, even before trees and power lines started dropping like flies, leaving us without power for three days.  It was a weird, blurry time of darkness (ranging from thickly overcast days to pitch black nights), grilling cans of soup, and harvesting toilet water from beneath the ice of a nearby creek.  On the second night, I remember sitting by the single lantern in the kitchen and reading, looking up at the dim room and wondering if this is what the aftermath of an asteroid apocalypse would look like.  Eventually the power came back on, and we finally celebrated Christmas on New Year’s Eve.

I’m not saying three days without power traumatized me, but talk about a big freaking inconvenience!  While that’s an extreme example, at least I never actually had to drive in it; I was just trapped.  Slipping and sliding through a lesser amount of snow and ice while dodging the other idiot drivers is even worse.  So… white Christmases aren’t worth it if you’re driving.  However, if it’s a white Christmas due to unmelted snow that fell days ago and the roads are good, then that’s still cool. 

At least where I live global warming seems to be making white Christmases less common than they used to be.  Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen Christmas carolers.  I think they only appear when it snows.

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