Waiting for the snow

Cassandra Hotaling Hahn / Rutland Herald photo

Originally published in the Rutland County Express on Dec. 22, 2011.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Wait. No, it’s not. It looks nothing like Christmas outside. What the heck? Christmas is, indeed, only days away, but as of writing this column, it just doesn’t feel right. Sure, the decorations are up. People are gifting and re-gifting and pepper-spraying each other. The calendar doesn’t lie; the 25th is right around the corner. But where is the snow?

Without snow, the many holiday decorations around town look incomplete — like they have been left out well into the spring, the punchline to some unfunny Jeff Foxworthy joke.

Call me old-fashioned, but it’s not Christmas without snow. I don’t know how people in warmer climates do it. Does Santa even deliver to places with palm trees instead of evergreens? Can his sleigh land on non-snow-covered surfaces? How do reindeer respond to the heat?

These are the questions that swirled through my mind as a child trying to comprehend how people celebrated Christmas without snow. To this day, it still troubles me.

I may be a secular celebrant of Christmas — say “Merry Christmas,” say “Happy Holidays” say “Bonny Boxing Day’s Eve” for all I care — but for me, snow is sacred.

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday — all the great food, reconnecting with far-flung friends, stifling familial tensions beneath pounds of fruitcake and whiskey-soaked eggnog.

It’s the only time I can listen to the Peanuts Christmas album and (I’ll admit it) Darlene Love nonstop without fear of ridicule or judgment.

And there’s also that great unspoken law mandating that everyone everywhere has to be good (for goodness sake). If only we could have the threat of Santa’s list year round, the world would be a better place.

Throughout all this festivity, snow is the very real the icing on the cake. This year, however, we just haven’t been seeing it. It’s been a mild fall. While we got enough precipitation for a several seasons back in August, a Christmas snowfall is all I’m want from Santa this year.

And it’s not just me. Sure, seeing a little bit of the white stuff on the ground gives us all the warm fuzzies this time of year, but up in Killington and at other ski resorts around the rest of the state, it’s big business. The resorts may be blowing their own snow, but a hefty dumping of the real stuff is long overdue.

After the battering we took from Irene, a strong ski season is sorely needed on the hill and down here in the valley where we feel the ripple effect of a good or bad season well into the summer months.

But I’m not giving up hope. I’m channeling my Tiny Tim optimism and believing that we will get some snow before Christmas Eve (I just know it, I do!).

Chances are, it’s going to be a late winter. January and February will be a blur of frigid whiteness, and come March, I’ll be back here lamenting the unending winter as fervently as I’m missing it now.

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