By Stephanie Lynn, age 23, Massachusetts
With all the crazy winter weather the United States has had in the month of the December I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about snow days. For those of you who live in warm climates, you may be asking "what are snow days?" But to anyone who's grown up in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Canada, or other very cold locations, you know very well what a snow day is. For me, as a kid and teenager, it was one of those wonderful mornings when my Mom would wake us up and say "No school today!" Sometimes we'd run downstairs and flip on the local community access station just to double check. Seeing is believing, after all. As we got older, we'd just switch off our alarm clocks and sleep for another 2 or 3 hours.
Besides getting a few extra hours of sleep, what are you supposed to do with the rest of your day? It's too snowy and icy outside to drive anywhere, so you're stuck at home. The internet, TV, and cell phone are your only access to the outside world, but sometimes you lose electrical power. How lame! All the worse when your iPod's battery supply runs out and you can't charge it. Anyway, I'm here to help you with some ideas for getting through your snow day, with or without electricity.
Get outside and play in the snow! When I was a kid, we couldn't wait to throw on our snow boots, winter gloves, and the warmest coat we owned, and head outdoors. We were determined to play until our fingers and toes were painfully numb. Mom would always be waiting inside to make hot cocoa. You're never too old to build snowmen, make snow angels, or go sledding down giant hills. Maybe create snow forts and castles and then gather some neighborhood friends for a snowball fight.
Practice your photography. Snow and ice can make for some of the most beautiful photographs imaginable. So if you're into photography and need to entertain yourself for an hour or two, grab your digital camera. Feel free to share any of the photos you take with Sweet Designs Magazine - and we'll post them for all to see.
Be artistic. One time when we lost power for two days my mom, younger sister, and I spilled some crayons out on the kitchen table and drew pictures by candlelight. It was very relaxing and we got to spend some time just hanging out together. If crayons aren't your thing, try colored pencils, acrylic paint, markers, or maybe even finger painting!
Read a book. If the power is out and it's after sunset, grab a bright camping lantern or a flashlight, and curl up under some fleece blankets for a good read. If you can snatch up your cuddly kitty or dog, then all the more comfortable! Hot cocoa or apple cider will also add to the comfort. :)
Play a game. Pull out your dusty playing or UNO cards, or a board game, then grab a parent or sibling, and you're set to go. Make the games more fun by altering the rules. For example, I always play the game UNO a little differently. If you don't have a card to put down, instead of only having to pick one card, you must keep picking up cards until you receive one that can be played. The game becomes more unpredictable as someone with only one or two cards could end up with 15 in the next round. You just never know.
Make a collage. Collages can also be a great craft idea for those long snow days. Just grab some of your old magazines, scissors, and glue, and have fun! Cut out your favorite pics, or just be wacky and cut out random facial features, outfits, letters, and beauty products. Or maybe try putting your cute face over a celebrity's, so it looks like you're the one wearing the hott Marc Jacobs dress. Wow, you look smokin' in that dress! Just have fun with it.
Put away your holiday decor. Yes, Christmas is over, and it's time to take down the tree. Everyone has been so busy with finals, mid-terms, holiday shopping, and parties that a snow day would be a great opportunity to put away the decorations till next year.
Create a dream book. Grab a journal or any plain piece of paper. Then write down anything and everything you'd like to do, see, and accomplish before you die. Would you like to travel, start a specific career, get married, raise a family, or try a new hobby? It doesn't matter how silly and insignificant or impossible and overwhelming a dream may seem. This is your wish list and you can put down whatever you wish. Then check them off as you accomplish them throughout your life.
Catch up on schoolwork. Not to be a total party pooper here, but if you're super behind on homework, or have a major project, paper, or exam coming up, a snow day is a great time to get yourself caught up. I know, this should be a "day off", but getting that extra work done will be less stressful for you in the long run. If you decide to work on school stuff, just try to spend some of your day outside in the snow. It's okay to have a little fun too. ;)
I hope some of these ideas help you during your next snow day. Be sure to print out this list for the many snow days you hope to receive this year. Great news is, if you're a senior in high school, you won't need to make up any of those "extra" snow days at the end of the year! Woot!
Happy New Year, Stephanie Lynn