How Southerners Do Snow Days


How Southerners do snow days
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People say Southerners don’t know what to do with snow.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

Maybe we Southerners don’t know how to plow snow or drive on ice, but we do know how to turn even the tiniest snowfall into a lifetime memory. An epic experience. An endless photo stream that leaves all of our blizzard-weary Northern friends scratching their heads and saying, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a measly inch of slush! We get that much snow every single minute.”

No, our Yankee friends don’t always see snow the same way we do. It’s not their fault. When your house is buried up to the eaves in dirty snow all winter long (bless your hearts), snow eventually becomes a messy inconvenience—but for Southerners who see snow only a few magical days a year, it’s different. We have made a pact here in the South, almost as sacred as sweet tea and Sunday suppers: Together we will uphold the Southern Snow Ethic, and teach our children to do the same. What’s the Southern Snow Ethic, you ask?

Not a single snowflake shall be wasted. Not on our watch.

Every flake that falls on Southern soil shall be played in, sledded on, and pounded into service as a slushy snowman. Every flurry-fall, however small, provides an opportunity for skipping school and work. Every sleet pellet shall be used to celebrate with childlike abandon alongside family, friends, and random neighbors we meet while pulling makeshift sleds down the street behind trucks, ATVs, and the occasional family pet.

Southern snow days


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Because of the Southern Snow Ethic, we can take two inches of ice and turn them into a glorious four-day extravaganza of sled-crafting, hill-hunting, and casserole-sharing.

With the Southern Snow Ethic, there are no excuses:

Not enough snow to make a full-sized snowman? Sure there is. You either borrow your neighbors’ snow, or you decorate the hood of your pickup with a snow-baby.

No snow boots? No problem. We can transform plastic grocery bags into waterproof snow boots. (And gloves and hats, if absolutely necessary.) We look ridiculous, but we don’t care. Our usual impeccable Southern fashion sense does not apply to Southern Snow Days.

No sleds? Think again. We can make sleds out of anything. And we do mean anything: cardboard, greased cookie sheets, garbage can lids, Styrofoam packaging, laundry baskets, garbage bags, even our beloved tailgate coolers.

No snow tires? Who cares? We don’t need chains on our tires to get us home from work in a snowstorm; we have our own frostbitten feet to walk us home for miles along the gridlocked highway, thank you very much.

sleds made out of cardboard

No sled? No problem! Cardboard boxes work just fine.

Because it comes so rarely, we Southerners have the luxury of celebrating snow as the most beautiful of winter’s gifts. For us, it’s not a mess. Not a delay. Not an inconvenience.

We see snow as the essence of childhood, innocence, and freedom. Something white, pure, and beautiful. Something fun. Something surprising. Something no one—not the weatherman, not the government, not the superintendent—can control. It shows up, it takes over, and we just let it fall where it wills, for as long as it wants.

When it melts, we’ll get back to school, to work, to real life. But today—and maybe tomorrow, if the freeze holds—God himself has declared a Southern snow day, and that means a day off for everyone, no matter how rich or poor, blue collar or white collar or redneck under the collar. So grab your plastic bags and your laundry baskets, and have yourself a Southern snow day.

IMG_2614

See? It works!


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Author: Elizabeth Laing Thompson VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.

17 comments

Comments
  • Karen Kuether Morrison February 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Well said!

  • NativeThere February 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Hallelujah! Preach it, sister!

  • Jonathan L February 20, 2014 at 3:55 am

    A Southern Snow Anthem!

  • Pam Dunnevant January 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    You have hit the nail on the head! What a brilliantly written piece about the joy of a Southern Snow Day! I love this!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson January 23, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks so much, Pam!

  • Ginger Oxendine January 24, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Snow cream!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson January 25, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      We made snow cream for the first time last year, and it’s DIVINE!

  • Debbie Mackie February 2, 2016 at 8:18 am

    I love this and the South as well!! Your writing is superb!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson February 2, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks very much, Debbie! xoxo

  • David Laing February 10, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Yes, y’all. Yes.

  • Linda Blais January 7, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I love it, great writing!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson January 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Thanks, Linda! Happy snow day!

  • June Varas January 7, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Up here, that’s not Southern!
    That’s REDNECKS!!

  • Jennifer Klein January 8, 2017 at 2:38 am

    I’m a New Yorker (& NJ) living in Georgia and I was laughing so much reading this I had tears down my face! Your explanation is so spot on-it’s brilliant with your sweet southern take on it all! The way these kids do not let a single snowflake go to waste is the epitome of these days from God in Winter!! Thank you for making me laugh and for getting down the perfect words that will finally get the Northerners to understand it!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson January 8, 2017 at 7:44 am

      Thanks so much, Jennifer! So happy you enjoyed! Welcome to the South—thanks for embracing our zany way of life. 😀

  • Rosa Lake January 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    We improvise! When I was in college, in the NC mountains, we used cafeteria trays for sleds. We all love Snow cream! AND, I still shout, “Bless your heart! ” whether sliding or making angels!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson January 9, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      BLESS YOUR HEART! Love it! 😀

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