Secret Stage Top Fives: Winter Whimsy

Although it's still green here at Secret Stage for the time being, yesterday marked the Winter Solstice, and the official start of the winter season. Like with any new season, we all start to notice a gradual shift in culture, and some of us like that quite a bit! Here are some of the things each of favor during the coldest months of the year:

Zach

5. Snowboarding/Skiing/Sledding - "I'm a kid at heart. Sue me. The first thing that comes to mind when I see newly fallen snow is how many different ways I can slide around on it."

4. Warm Drinks - "It's not that I'm picky the rest of the year, but there are few better feelings then letting some hot chocolate or cider radiate through your body."

3. The Giving Spirit - "Mostly reserved for the beginning of the season, I do find it a nice time of year, as it gives me excuse to treat the people I care about to things. Any other time, I'm considered weird."

2. The Lights - "Christmas lights at night against the fresh snow is very easy way to get me smiling. I can't even tell you what it is about it, but it'll work nearly every time."

1. Stouts - "My favorite kind of beer is best suited for the colder months. This is when they all come out to play, and I'm VERY excited get some new beer in my belly."

Jordan

5. Board games with Friends/Family - "A favorite of mine whether I'm up north snowed in with my family, or at home for a night in with my friends, I love that in the winter time there isn't much else to do, so you feel less bad about staying in and playing games."

4. Drifting - "I'm putting this on my list because I can remember a time when we would all go out in our cars and meet behind Dick's Sporting Goods here in Rochester and drift our cars around. One time we even took some trays and put them under Zach's rear tires and pulled the E-Break and drove around. Some super fun times, and always a fun activity even to do on your own when it snows. Come on, we all do it."

3. Decorating Cookies with my Family for Christmas - "Every year growing up my mother would make sugar cookies and dye a bunch of frosting different colors and we would all sit down to make crazy and sometimes inappropriate cookies. It always was a lot of fun and even though we are all older, it's still a fun tradition."

2. Sledding - "Zach and Keenan are absolutely a part of this one. We've been known amongst others to go out and sled at weird hours of the morning. Not always just your traditional sledding either, we would go to parks near our house and sled on the biking trails and down the wooden stairs. One time cops showed up because somebody thought we were breaking into their property, but no we were just sledding at 3am."

1. Snowboarding - "Snowboarding is something that is still relatively new to me (I've been devoted to Skateboarding since I was young) and I like to think that every year I've made large improvements, but I love getting out. My work takes me on a yearly trip to Keystone Colorado to go snowboarding and every year it's just eye opening. But even down to the small scale of just going to a local mountain with your buds and hitting the lodge after a day out is just a great day."

Chris

5. Decorations – “When I was young, my family and I would drive around neighborhoods looking at all of the Christmas lights and decorations. They remind me that people can be caring and selfless, if only during one time of the year.”

4. Playing Board Games – “Playing outside gets more difficult when there’s 3 feet of snow on the ground, so playing board games is often a fun go-to during the winter.”

3. Caroling/Playing Christmas Music – “When I was in college, every year a group of us would get together and play some Christmas carols at a busy place on campus. It was miserably cold (which meant bad things for playing instruments), but it was worth it for the occasional group who stopped and sang along.”

2. Christmas/People Being Generally Selfless – “I like this season because of the ‘Christmas spirit’ aspect. No matter what religion you practice, it’s a time of year where people are generally caring and selfless.”

1. Seeing Old Friends – “The holidays are a time where people go back home to visit family, and often we get to see old friends. I have a few friends I see this one time a year, and every time we get together it’s like nothing has changed.”

Hales

5. Snow - "I absolutely hate driving in this shit. But, if you've ever experienced a quiet night under a street lamp while the snow falls gently onto an already blanketed ground, you know why this still makes my list despite the treacherous driving conditions. It's magical. Plus, sledding and building snowmen is fun no matter how old you are!"

4. Scents - "This sounds weird, but think about it. Most scents are associated with a season. Flowers are very much Spring, fruity exotic or beachy scents are Summer, apples and pumpkins are Fall and then you have the glorious Winter. A mix of musk, vanilla, pine, cranberries, snow, clove, cinnamon. It smells infinitely better at this time of year."

3. Food - "Turkey. Ham. Mashed Potatoes. Sweet Potato Casserole. Bread. Cranberry Sauce. Various veggie sides. Party trays with cheese, salami and crackers. For some reason, you don't see these types of food at ANY other time of year and if you do, people think it's weird. I am wholly against this and would gladly have it more than a few times a year at the holidays. But, since this is the world we live in, I enjoy it while it lasts."

2. Being Cozy - "I love wearing a comfy pair of fuzzy socks and PJ's while curling up on the couch with a warm, soft blanket. You simply can't do this in the Summer without boiling up and it is the best. It also helps when you've got candles lit and Christmas lights on the tree."

1. Holidays - "Being around friends and family, gift giving/receiving, enjoying all the festive decorations, endless amounts of delicious food/drink... all of this leads to why the holidays are my favorite part of Winter! I celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve in particular. All of which give you this warm fuzzy feeling be it from too much food, Christmas cheer or just a lot of booze."

Nick

5. The Cold - “A lot of people will think I’m crazy for this, but I love the cold. Something about being all bundled up in order to go outside is great.”

4. Snow - “There is a stipulation to my #5, when it is cold with no snow, it kind of sucks. It would still be better than this ~40 degree and rainy weather we’ve been getting, but until there is snow on the ground it just doesn’t feel like winter. It would also be higher on my list if the death of me first car wasn’t caused by snow. But there is nothing better than looking out the window and seeing everything covered in a fresh, perfectly smooth sheet of snow.”

3. Winter Drinks - “Again, this might not make sense to some people, but there are certain drinks that just seem to taste better when it is cold out. Like I purposely waited until the temperature dropped before I bought a stout I wanted to try. Then there is hot chocolate with Baileys in it. It is really good, but why would you ever drink that in the middle of summer?”

2. Forging/Fires - “I used to ski all the time. But I haven’t been on a hill in a few years now. The only activity I do that requires the cold weather now is when use my forge. Yeah, I could use it in the summer, but it isn’t any fun to be around a fire hot enough to soften up steel and swing a hammer around when it is hot enough to be sweating without those things. The same goes for setting a fire in the fireplace: What is the point of making a fire when the AC is on?”

1. Holidays - “With the holidays comes vacation, and vacation means doing whatever you want. Including forgetting to write my Top Five list until the last minute (Sorry, Zach)! It is a good feeling to not have to worry about tomorrow. Yes I have to worry about next week, or the week after, but for the time being it is great to not be in a rush to do anything.”

Keenan

5. Hunting - “ This is my favorite season to be out in the woods. Hunting rabbits is my favorite during the snowy winter months. Being out in nature and all geared up with friends is one of the best feelings”

4. Ice Fishing - “Much like hunting it has to do with being outside. I have always liked the cold and snow. Being out on a frozen lake in a shanty, with beer and friends is the best. The fishing is good too.”

3. Snowboarding - “ Much like longboarding in the warmer months, this would keep me on my toes during the winter. Even though I haven’t done this for a couple years it is always something I could jump back into.”

2. Sledding - “ I am sure this will be on most of our lists. Growing up this was always a staple of winter time. Zach, Jordan and I would always go out and do the craziest things with a sled. Make our own tracks down the side of a hill that was NOT meant for sledding. My favorite being the late/early night runs we would go on, when no one else was out.”

1. Driving - “ I know there are a few people like me. The snow has never scared me on the roads. I don’t know if this is from growing up in Michigan or having a love for cars. I love plowing through a mound of snow or whipping my car around a parking lot. I always love to push the limits of a car in the snow.”

Allison

5. Snowball Fights - "These were always pretty fun until people started throwing chunks of ice at your face. That's why it's my fifth fav. Because I like fun stuff but not black eyes."

4. Snowboarding - "I had a lot of fun when I tried it. A bunch of my friends all went out together and I just couldn't get the hang of it. But I know that once I learn, I'm going to have way more fun."

3. Sledding - "Super fun. I've only done it once though. I didn't go a second time because when I was leaving I watched a little tiny kid run into a tree and get a stick in their eye and that freaked me out."

2. Building Snowmen - "Also really fun. Especially when there is super good packing snow. My friends and I used to have snowman making competitions. (They were my neighbors)

1. Attempting to Make Snow Forts - "There was one winter that my parents bought us the little plastics things to make snow blocks. All the neighbor kids went to my friend Breanns house (lived across the street) and we started making a giant fort. We worked on it for probably a week and had 3 walls probably 4 feet high. Then my little brother thought it'd be funny to run into one of the walls but it was so frozen that it knocked the wind out of him. Then he got mad and started throwing things at it and ruined the whole fort. So, I want to make another one. As good as that one."