When I was young, we lived up North where there was plenty of snow and cold winter weather. My sisters and I anticipated that last day of school before Christmas break, and would veritably bust out of the school building and race for home as soon as the day ended.
We had what seemed like a small eternity ahead of us to be filled with delightful endeavors, such as baking cookies with our mother, finishing up homemade gifts for our parents and one another, and literally thriving in the great outdoors, no matter how cold, windy or snowy it was.
Depending on the snow quality, we might build snow forts or igloos. Forts were good for snowball fights, while igloos were ideal for hiding in and reading by the greenish glow of the low afternoon light. Whenever we made igloos, we were cautioned that we could suffocate in a cave-in. I’m pleased to report that we all survived, and we never had a cave-in – except when we decided to wreck the day’s building to provide a clean slate for the following day.
On the afternoons and evenings when the snow was just right and there was enough light, we spent our time sledding on various hills within walking distance of the house. One particular run was about a half-mile away, and I’d be sweaty by the time I towed my little sister and her sled to the destination, which we called “Moving Island.” It was really just a swamp nestled at the end of a deep wooded ravine with a few interconnected hiking and deer trails that gave us several routes from top to bottom. We were always careful not to run out on the thin ice at the swamp, knowing we would get wet, muddy, or worse. We never went through the ice, but it added a thrill factor at the end of each run. Occasionally we ran our sleds into trees or wiped out sledding off various jumps. We even broke sleds, which we repaired, but we always headed home exhausted, exhilarated and hungry!
As Christmas break extended on, it was usually cold enough that the ice on the sloughs and ponds near enough to walk to from our house was thick enough for skating. Skating was the pinnacle of our winter wonderland fun, but in most years it was also a bittersweet reminder that we’d soon be spending our days hiking to and from school again, and not to our favorite Christmas season activities. And once back in school, those feelings were always tempered with all the wonderful homemade cookies and bars we’d find in our lunch boxes.
Want more nostalgia from the Capper’s Farmer family? Check out Capper’s Farmer Christmas Traditions and share your own in the comments below!