Winter is the house cat of seasons. It's cold, gloomy, and uninviting, unless and until you really get to know it, at which point it kinda surprises you with how wonderful and fun it can be. If you’ve got enough cold-weather gear to keep you warm and dry, playing in the snow is awesome. If you can manage to not have to go outside, all the better. Either way, there are plenty of winter activities you'll enjoy more when you have kids.
Now, don't get me wrong; surviving winter with a new baby is pretty much the worst. However, I think that's just winter's way of making parents earn their future prize: the fun of sharing winter with kids. Kids’ creativity and sense of wonder makes everything about winter — from occasionally long stretches of being stuck indoors, to cold, snowy weather — so much better. While winter’s challenges can be a huge hassle once you have adult responsibilities and obligations, seeing how kids’ faces light up in anticipation of presents (or when snowflakes tickle their noses) is a perfect reminder of how beautiful and special winter can be. If you manage to dodge the worst of cold and flu season, that is.
Here's wishing you more snow days than sniffles, and plenty of chances to do all of the following:
Avoiding Winter Events You Don't Want To Attend
All the introverts — and folks who just get lazy and curmudgeonly in the winter — know what I'm talking about. Sometimes, saying no to social occasions is a treasured activity in and of itself. Between coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends, there are approximately 8,671 winter parties and other gatherings you feel vaguely obligated to attend, some of which you may even have to buy or make things for. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Now, some of those parties are bound to be a blast, so you're willing to brave the world beyond your warmest blankets and go. Others, however, are almost guaranteed to be more hassle than they're worth. In your past life, you might have felt pressured to just go anyway, or have a horribly awkward conversation and decline. But now you have children, otherwise known as the perfect excuse to not do anything you don't feel like doing. Thank goodness for our beautiful little cover stories. Oh. Um. I mean bundles of joy.
Getting Creative Indoors
Now that you've successfully whittled down your social obligations and avoided going out into the cold, you have to find ways to make your house more fun. Fortunately, one of the best parts of winter is discovering fun and creative ways to have fun without going outside, and kids are masters at this very specific skill.
Pro-tip: hide or store anything you don't want stained or broken, and then just have at it. Build forts, play games (invented ones, board games, whatever tickles you), host movie nights, eat all your meals as pretend picnics, go "camping" in your living room; the cold, grey sky's the limit.
Playing In The Snow
Yeah, grown-ups can play in the snow on our own, but there's only so many times you can have drunken snowball fights before it gets old and/or someone gets seriously hurt. Truly, this is kid territory.
The first time your kid is old enough to have a snowball fight, or make a snow angel, or do any of the number of outdoor games made better by snow, is especially magical. The only thing more amazing than winter fun itself, is watching someone else you love experience it for the very first time.
Spotting Animal Tracks In The Snow
Most grown-ups aren't that impressed by animal tracks in the snow. They're like, "Whatever, I know people walk their dogs everyday, why are you stopping and giggling at the existence of dog feet basically every time you see them, Sabrina?" But whatever, kids appreciate how adorable and fun it is to find different kinds of paw prints, bird claws, and other animal markings in the snow. So many adorable little feet in our neighborhood, that we don't even think about most of the time.
I know somebody's gonna come in here and ruin my day by reminding me that snow is probably polluted or something, but until they do: catching snowflakes on your tongue, or leaving a bowl on a window ledge so you can dye it or flavor it with honey or fruit, is magic realized.
Doing Snow Dances
When there's snow in the forecast, and you want to make sure you get enough of it to cancel school and work, a snow dance — which, in my expert opinion, is best done in your PJs, turned inside out and backwards for greatest effect — is your best insurance. It's so much more fun to do this with kids, who appreciate the opportunity to be silly regardless of the lack of scientific data attesting to its efficacy. (For the record: It works if you believe.)
Having Winter Treats
Fact: hot chocolate tastes 51 percent sweeter when shared with a giddy toddler who's never had hot chocolate before.
Sharing Holiday Traditions
Fall is my favorite season, but winter definitely has a lot of perks, especially in the holiday category. There are so many to celebrate, particularly if your family and friends span a range of religions and cultures. That means so many opportunities to share yummy treats, see family and friends we may not get to see for the rest of the year, and do special activities.
Nobody gets more hyped to decorate a Christmas tree, or make snowflakes, or otherwise make a home look festive, than kids. Decorating and stuff can be kind of "take it or leave it" if you don't have kids, but when you do have kids, it's so much more fun.
Cold Weather Cuddles
In my humble opinion, winter is definitely the best season for cuddling. Once you successfully dance enough snow into existence to get the day off, starting and ending your snow day by cuddling with the cutest people you know, is a definite must.