A Chicago winter wish list

Max Minogue

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It’s that time of year again. Christmas music is being played over every retail speaker. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is stuck in everybody’s head.

So of course, everybody is wondering what I want for Christmas this year.

It’ll be the last year I get presents from every member of my extended family meaning wads of cash that I can attempt to save for college. It’ll be the last year before I’m officially an adult, thanks to my March birthday.

At the top of my wishlist is college related, so I won’t focus on that. Number two on the list? An authentic Chicago winter. Yes, that means I’ll be talking about the weather.

Once I’m away at college, I’ll be surrounded by people from trash bins like Florida. I’ve never been in Florida during winter, thank the lord, but according to usclimatedata.com, the average December high in Miami is 78°F. Even the idea of that repulses me.

For my last year here, I want to experience winter as a true Chicago native, and I want Mother Nature to go all out. In contrast to last year’s pitiful winter months, the Farmers Almanac declares that “Winter is back!” and it better be.

My favorite part about living in Chicago has always been the overly aggressive winters. Middle school recess was always defined by snow forts being built over weeks, and snowmen being reduced into massive balls of snow that my puny 12 year-old arms couldn’t dare to lift.

Even snow shoveling is a special form of satisfaction for me. I put in headphones, feel my nose turn red and runny, and just mechanically shovel. It always ends up being a meditative experience for me.

And coming inside afterwards, grabbing a steaming cup of Abeulita’s hot chocolate? Indescribable. Divine. Better than anything Florida could ever offer.

Not to mention the beauty of Chicago winter fashion. It’s essentially seeing who can look the best in seven layers of thick clothes and hats, whoever looks the best as a thick marshmallow person.

It comes with walking around in tall boots everywhere, and hearing that familiar squeak when you walk into the school.

Walking around all bundled up like that in the city, and then taking a plunge into each and every store for warmth is something I need to do this upcoming Chicago winter.

I want to have a day where everybody looks forward a couple of days in excitement, whether you’re a kindergardener or a senior in high school, waiting to see whether the administrative gods of the schools decide to grant us a snow day.

Most importantly, I think I need to have a white Christmas.

I understand what I’m doing: romanticizing winter to the extreme. Winter sucks sometimes. People can slip on black ice and hurt themselves. It can be deadly to the homeless and those without heating. Basically, I do realize my own naivety.

However, one of the things that really makes me feel like a Chicagoan (and not just another suburbanite) are these brutal winters. Winters like these make us feel grounded and humbled by nature.

It’d be a lie if I pretended that winters don’t get sickening after a few months, especially when the Groundhog decides he hates us all and spites us with a winter that drags into April. Although at the very least a winter like that could help me ignore global warming, but I digress.

Months after the final thaw, when it finally turns to spring after an especially rough winter, there really is nothing better than that first 60 or 70 degree day. And the worse the winter, the better a summer looks, and who doesn’t want a great 2017 summer?

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