Last December was my first winter in New Orleans, and I remember being kind of disappointed about being in the South for the holiday season. It seemed incomplete. Yes, there were Christmas cookies, Christmas wreaths and Christmas lights, but the whole time was missing one key ingredient: winter.
I really missed winter. New Orleans was cold sometimes, but it was nothing like the Decembers in New England and the Midwest where I grew up. In New Orleans I never had to wear mittens or brush snow out of my eyes or warm up my car before I got in it. As someone who only knew cold winters before I moved here, dealing with winter is an integral part of December and therefore the holiday season. In warm New Orleans I began to sympathize with Bing Crosby and the gang in that scene in White Christmas when they arrive in Vermont and wonder where all the snow is. For me, without mittens, hot chocolate and snow, the holiday season didn’t feel like the holiday season at all.
But now, as a second-year New Orleanian, I have become wiser. I have decided I was crazy last year thinking a cold winter is the ideal situation. The truth is winter sucks.
I decided this over the weekend when Chris and I drove to Missouri to visit my family for Thanksgiving. On Friday morning, my dad had to go to work so he asked me to move my car out of the driveway since my car was blocking his.
I opened the garage and walked out to my car and was horrified at what I saw: frost. I had forgotten about frost. In the winter in Missouri, almost every morning you have to scrape the frost off your car. It’s not fun.
In New Orleans, I have never had to do this so I had no idea if I still had a scraper in my car. I checked under the seats and there was nothing, so I checked in my mom’s car and found nothing (even though later she said there is one in her car I just missed it in my frantic search).
I was scraper-less but I still had to move my car, so I sat in my car with the defroster on waiting for the ice on my windshield to melt so I could see out. I was freezing and becoming very impatient, so as soon as there was a small window of light coming through my front and back windshields, I put down all the windows, checked for small children behind me and slowly backed out of my parents’ driveway, praying that a deer or some other Missouri animal wouldn’t jet out behind me as I backed out trying to maneuver my car with restricted vision.
It was at that moment I decided I no longer miss winter. As a New Orleanian, I never have to worry about scraping off my car. Every morning I just hop in my car and go; I don't have to worry about frost on my windshield or my locks being frozen. I don’t have to sit in a freezing car hoping that my heat comes on faster.
While I loved going back to Missouri, I’m writing this blog post in New Orleans where it is 74 degrees on Dec. 3 and it is quite lovely. While last year a 70-degree December day would really bother me, today I was so glad when I could walk out of my apartment days after Thanksgiving without a coat. I’m beginning to appreciate New Orleans’ spring-like weather in December.
I know I’ll miss snow when it gets closer to Christmas, so it’s good I’m going to New England for Christmas to visit Chris’ family. I’m looking forward to a white Christmas, but I’m also glad I will have a warm place to come back to. I’ve now accepted that New Orleans is a fun place for the holiday season because you get all the fun Christmas stuff without the annoying windshield scraping and dangerous icy roads. While I love my holiday visits back to Missouri and New England, I’m excited I can come back to New Orleans to defrost.