Ever get the winter blues? Suffer from break boredom? You don’t have to sit at home and sleep the entirety of December. Here’s a list of things you can do in order to spice up your Christmas.
1. Make Vermont Maple Taffy
Also known as “leather aprons” or “sugar on snow”, this classic Vermont treat is easy to make. All you need is a small bowl of snow and some maple syrup. First, melt the syrup until it is warm and bubbling. Next, pour it over the snow. This will cause it to crystallize and become stretchy and gooey. This new and fun treat can be the highlight of any snow day.
2. Take Part in a Polar Bear Plunge
Running into a freezing body of water in the middle of winter with nothing but a bathing suit on doesn’t sound very appealing, but in many places, such as New England and Michigan, Polar Bear Plunges are a tradition that locals look forward to. However, they aren’t just for thrills- most are fundraisers for charitable organizations. Participants collect pledges from non-participants (or other participants) and typically pay a fee themselves, similar to a walk-a-thon. Rewards, such as King and Queen of the Plunge, are often given to the person with the largest amount of money raised. Plunges also often include costume contests and many groups take part as a team.
3. Be in a Shovel Race
Basically sledding, shovel racing is riding down a hill on a shovel. All you need is a snow shovel, some friends, and a hill. This strange variation of sledding has its roots in New Mexico, where workers at a ski resort didn’t feel like taking a lift, so they rode shovels back to the lodge after they had finished working. The sport became so popular that it eventually became a part of the Winter X Games, but now has its own world championships at the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico.
4. Run the North Pole Marathon
This is exactly what it sounds like- a marathon at the North Pole. The temperature is typically below zero, and runners travel over chunks of ice that are 6-12 feet thick. No land is involved, only ice, making this marathon more dangerous and physically exhausting than any other. 45 people will be competing this year, and they are from 22 different countries.
5. Take an Outdoor Nap
In northern European countries such as Sweden, babies and children are put outside in cold weather for naps. This is believed to help increase health and immunity towards diseases. It is also believed that people sleep longer and more restfully outside in the cold. Abbie Weidner ‘19 feels that she sleeps better outdoors. “Outdoor naps are really refreshing,” she says. So next snow day, go outside and take a nap.
6. Make an Ice Lantern
All you need to make this simple yet intriguing winter decoration is a bucket, some water, a candle, and patience. First, fill the bucket up with water almost to the top, but leave about three inches. Put this in the freezer or outside if the temperature is below freezing. Let it sit until at least the outer layer is frozen. Any amount can be frozen, so long as some liquid remains. Take the block of ice and create a hole on the thinnest part. Drain the water through this hole and then place the candle inside of the balloon using the same hole. This will create a beautiful winter lantern.
7. Make Snow Paint
Fill up a spray bottle with water and add food coloring.
Use this to decorate your snow! You can also use a bowl and a paintbrush, or add more colors to be more creative. Make sure that your water is cold so that it does not melt the snow.
8. Go Ice Blocking
Another interesting take on sledding, you basically sit on a block of ice and slide down a hill. First, of course, you have to freeze a block of ice. In order to do this, you can fill up a bin and put it outside in the winter. Turn the bin over in order to remove the block. Next, do your best to stay on the block while racing down a hill.
9. Play Broomball
It’s the exact same thing as hockey, just with brooms instead of sticks and you can use any balls you want instead of a puck. This is an actual sport in Canada and Sweden, but impromptu neighborhood games make fun addition to a snow day.