Posted by: pyeager | November 28, 2009

Five Weather Seasons?

While it’s common to believe that there are four weather seasons, there are, in fact, five. At least, it seems that way–based on the way people seem to split winter into two seasons, before Christmas and after Christmas.

Winter Before Christmas

Before Christmas, snow is loved and cold is tolerated because the concept of a White Christmas is so ingrained in our culture that what is often considered intolerable weather becomes desirable. In fact, nothing in weather is romanticized as much as the magical White Christmas.

It seems as if every Christmas song sings wistfully of snow falling, sleigh rides, and delightfully frightful weather. Every movie is filled with that perfect Hollywood snow; large and fluffy flakes turn stark villages into magical white kingdoms but somehow never interrupt the joyous green- and red-clad travelers.

We marvel at Christmas lights and decorations as they sparkle in the fresh covering of snow, and even adults are often seen frolicking and building snowmen. We reminisce about how winters used to be much snowier when we were kids–those were the days.

Snow is beautiful, and everyone loves it–at least from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas (and perhaps New Year’s Day).

Winter After Christmas

After Christmas, many of us return to our typical snow-hating ways.

We rip down all of the lights and decorations and stuff them into boxes in the attic; we whine when we have to shovel a driveway or sidewalk. We avoid going outdoors because it’s too slushy, and when a north wind howls, we howl in annoyance at the cold.

We beg for a “January thaw,” make jokes about wishing there were more global warming, and think that the groundhog is an evil beast. If it dare snow in March, it’s best for a meteorologist to invest in Kevlar.

Snow is an awful inconvenience, and everyone hates it.

A White Christmas for Many?

I’ll talk about the weather factors that might lead to a White Christmas for many people across the country during the next couple of days.

Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas (Mini-Rant)

I said the word Christmas many times in this post since that’s what it’s about–a White Christmas. When talking about Christmas, it seems silly to me to randomly insert the word holidays in an attempt to be inclusive of others. A Christmas tree is not more inclusive if it’s called a holiday tree, and Christmas lights are not any less denominational when called holiday lights.

There’s a better way of being inclusive of non-Christians–treat those who don’t celebrate with the respect they deserve.

For example, don’t wish someone who you know celebrates Hanukkah a “Happy Holiday” on December 25 when Hanukkah was three weeks earlier. Wish them a Happy Hanukkah during Hanukkah. Also, don’t be upset if stores cater to people of all religions (or the non-religious) by talking about the entire holiday season rather than focusing on just Christmas.

There is a lot of discussion at this time of year about a war on Christmas by those who believe that Christmas is a national event, not a religious event. I want to remind everyone that Christmas is a religious holiday that is not celebrated by everyone.

–Paul Yeager

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