How to combat the cold from a part-Canadian’s perspective

Kathryn Carvel/The Miscellany News.

Let’s discuss the only thing we heard about the other week: the weather. It’s been cold. Even I can admit that. But with the right ways to combat the cold, it is actually quite enjoyable. To me, negative temperatures are not miserable; they are an exciting adventure that we Northerners like to call “an average winter day.” 

Growing up in Canada and northern New York (which is basically Canada) means that I love the cold. I thrive in it. When winter lasts from November to May, you have to embrace the frigid temperatures. To me, -20 degrees Fahrenheit is just a typical winter day. If it is not below 20 degrees and snowing on the regular by December, I am not a happy camper. Since moving to Massachusetts six years ago, the supposedly harsh New England winters have been an unacceptable, inaccurate representation of what real winter is. As my dad would say, “It’s downright balmy!” Climate change, am I right? I actually texted my grandmother to check in because where she lives in northern New York, the windchill made the temperatures feel like -40 degrees. She responded, “I don’t know what the big deal is. When I was growing up it would be -30 for weeks at a time.” That is a real North Country response. These cold days bring me back to my childhood, waiting inside for the bus and staring out the window, ready to sprint because it was too cold to stand outside for more than five minutes. It makes me quite nostalgic. It was always cold and always snowy. I would go sledding in my front yard because the snow banks would be above my head. Tell me, where is the snow now? 

For all of you not as excited about the cold weather as me, I have some tips to survive the cold in style. For starters, layers are crucial. You cannot go outside without at least two layers on. You know, I have worn multiple pairs of pants before—you do what you have to do. I am a huge fan of a shirt under a big sweater. Speaking of sweaters, if you live in the Northeast, your sweater game has to be top notch. You need to have sweaters for all occasions. I have specific sweaters for when it snows, when it is really cold out and when it is way too warm for a winter day. I have dress sweaters, and I have casual sweaters. The weather is constantly changing, so you have to be ready for anything. The right shoes are also crucial. I am a big believer in Uggs because no shoe has kept my feet warm like Uggs have. In or out of style, Uggs have been my saving grace. 

Along with boots and sweaters, you need to have a wide selection of winter gear. If you don’t have that one go-to hat that you just love to pull back out every winter, you haven’t found the right hat. It is always such an exciting feeling to be rummaging through your winter gear box and find a new scarf or pair of gloves you completely forgot about. Putting on fun winter gear makes the cold weather so much more enjoyable. Not only does it provide an extra layer of warmth, but also an extra layer of fashion. Next time you see a really awesome hat in the Deece or around campus, tell the owner you like it. They probably have some sort of emotional connection with that apparel and will appreciate the compliment. I know that I have stories about every one of the hats I own. 

Next up, the beverages you consume in the cold are extremely important. Hot chocolate is always a must. Hot chocolate just hits different when it is -10 degrees out. Personally, I am a big fan of peppermint tea when it’s cold out because I associate peppermint with winter, and it is always so calming and comforting to drink. Avoid iced drinks except for ice in your water bottle and iced coffee, as those are always a must. Along with beverages, the food you eat in the cold is also crucial. Winter is for comfort food. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies never taste better than on snow days or days where you are forced inside by the cold weather. The oven heats up the house, and the cookies fresh out of the oven warm you right up when you take that first, delicious bite. I also strongly associate pizza with cold weather, though that might be because my family would have it almost every Friday or Saturday night before rushing off to hockey games. Warm, cheesy pizza just tastes better in the cold. In the winter, you don’t find comfort in the sun, so you have to seek it elsewhere: in food, tea, fun sweaters and more. 

Lastly, the cold is all about your mindset. I was prancing around my Noyes hallway, as one does, thrilled about the cold, when I ran into my neighbor, Julian Funaro ’25. Naturally, I told him how excited I was about the weather, and his response was, “It is so cold out, I almost cried.” One approach is to submit to the weather, which was a very popular approach that week. Or you can do what I do. Step outside and think to yourself how natural the cold is. Take a deep breath. It clears out your lungs and your brain, giving you a sense of release you just don’t get in the heat. It is a beautiful feeling. The other night I sat outside on a bench  in the cold while on the phone with my mom—properly bundled, of course—and I felt the best I had in a while. It reminded me why I love winter. 

Anyways, the groundhog saw his shadow this year, so we have six more weeks of winter. Why not savor it? Get those hats out, bake some cookies and enjoy the rest of winter. Let’s hope we get some more snow. 

Kathryn Carvel/The Miscellany News.

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