Roll over each image to go from winter wonderland to WINTER DOLDRUMSVILLE.
By Hallie Cantor
Food Is Everywhere
Winter is a time to eat like a bear fueling itself for hibernation. It's so cold out that no one will judge you for ordering nightly delivery of the kind of food that really sticks to the ribs: cheesy pizza, cheeseburgers, cheese fries. Mostly cheese, is what we're getting at. (Don't forget about the special holiday foods: Christmas cookies, hot buttered rum, latkes, candy canes, ham, gingerbread, gelt. You can put cheese on any of those things.)
Yeah, you're getting fat. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but that's what happens when you treat every single meal like it's the last time you'll ever eat again, and you also stop exercising because it's "too cold" to go to the gym. And what was it all for? Eggnog, the drink universally acknowledged to be the grossest thing in the world? Good choice. Enjoy starving yourself all spring.
Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, there's something magical about the smell of fir trees, the sight of twinkly lights, and the sounds of carolers in the night. Oh, are you tired of Christmas carols? I'm sorry, do you HATE JOY? Stop complaining and start thinking about what to get your office Secret Santa.
It's easy to hate joy when it comes in the form of the same four songs playing over and over at a million decibels on every single radio station. And in the form of a dumb bell-ringing Santa Claus guilt-tripping you into donating money outside every grocery store. And in the form of half of your Facebook friends getting offended when people say "Merry Christmas" and the other half getting offended when people say "Happy Holidays." Bah humbug.
Winter's chill brings with it an exponential increase in your fashion choices. Grab a wool coat and you're a debonair spy. Jam on a beanie and you're an Olympic ski jumper. Toss on a knitted scarf and you're one of those people who wears knitted scarves! And at night, the blankets. Oh, god, we haven't even talked about blankets. So cozy. So snuggly. So WINTER.
No matter how many fantasies you dream up for your winter gear, underneath it all you're still boring old you. And you know what YOU tend to do in winter? Put on too many winter layers and then start sweating underneath them as soon as you go indoors, like a pig trapped in a straightjacket, grunting miserably as it tries futilely to wriggle its way into the fresh air. Yeah.
It's almost hard to decide which is better: getting gifts from the people you love, or GIVING them the perfect gift and seeing them smile as they receive it. Honestly, though, after everything's been unwrapped and your whole family's sitting together by the Christmas tree (OR THE MENORAH), no one really cares what the gifts are. What's important is that you love each other.
It's almost hard to decide which is worse: pretending to love a horrible gift from your distant cousin, or trying to figure out what you can possible give your new stepmom that isn't too expensive but won't somehow offend her. Whatever, no one really cares what the gifts are, right? What's important is that scented candles are cheap.
During finals, you spent hours in the bowels of your school library doing pointless things like analyzing poetry when you could have been watching TV. And once winter break begins, IT ALL PAYS OFF. You have weeks upon weeks of vacation time to get drunk with your hometown friends, annoy your younger siblings, and finally beat Sonic Adventure for Dreamcast.
You never thought it was possible to have too much vacation, but somehow it is. By the third week of January, all your hometown friends are either back at school or at a ski lodge somewhere, and if your mom brings up summer internships one more time you will scream in her face. (Hint: you won't be saying, "I appreciate you and respect your parenting methods!")
Going on Vacation
Going on vacation is a free pass to unlimited boozing, snoozing and cruising for foreign babes/bros. There's literally nothing expected of you, except to get drunk 30,000 feet in the air. Or at sea level if you're taking a train to your destination. Or below the sea if you're taking a submarine?
Going on vacation is a free pass to unlimited boring sightseeing, traveler's diarrhea, and arguing with whoever you have the stupidity to go on vacation with. Seriously: whether they're your lame family or your best friends, by the end of the trip you will hate them more than you have ever hated anything. Except for airports. You hate those the most.
New Year's Eve
10! you love dressing up all sparkly 9! champagne is delicious 8! so are chocolate-covered strawberries 7! chanting in groups makes you feel like a part of a community 6! you can't wait to smooch your sweetie 5! midnight is such a romantic time 4! you have the day off from work tomorrow 3! all your friends are together 2! this is gonna be your year 1! woooo!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
10! it's just not the same since Dick Clark died 9! all those tourists in Times Square are depressing 8! sunglasses should never be in the shape of 2014 7! this chanting makes you feel like a cult member 6 you have no one to kiss at midnight 5 your ears already hurt from all the cheering 4! you're gonna be so hung over tomorrow 3! your friends are all at a cooler new year's party 2! last year was so shitty 1! and this year will be too. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Ice skating is probably the easiest way to feel 100 times more graceful than you usually are. You just strap on some skates and suddenly you're gliding across the ice like an Olympic figure skater but minus the weird outfits. You're Michelle Kwan! You're Tara Lipinski! You're the snow princess ice fairy queen of the world! Wheeee!
Man, these skates are expensive to rent. And whoa, this is harder than you remember it being. How are those little children doing this backwards? Just don't fall, just don't fall, just don't fall. You didn't know your inner thighs could ache this much. That can't be healthy. Can inner thigh muscles be out of shape? How do you work them out, other than sex? Come to think of it, when was the last time you had sex?
What could be more glorious than a celebration of love? It's a chance to buy your sweetheart a big ol' box of chocolates to show 'em much they mean to you, and then eat the caramel ones when they aren't looking. Or if you're single, you get a built in excuse to show off the bitterness you normally keep locked deep, deep inside, and buy YOURSELF a big ol' box of chocolates. As if you need an excuse.
Valentine's Day isn't just the worst movie Ashton Kutcher has ever been in (and that's a contentious category. Have you seen What Happens in Vegas? Because I have. And it's terrible.), it's also a holiday designed to make people feel inferior to some imaginary ideal of romantic love. And most of us feel that way the 364 other days of the year with no help, thank you very much.
If there's one nice thing we can say about winter, it's that there are no surprises. There's none of this pussyfooting around that the other seasons do. "Oooh, I'm Fall, and sometimes I'm rainy but sometimes I'm warm!" Idiot. Winter gives it to you straight: it's going to be cold, and it's going to be long. Deal with it.
Oh, God, it's so long.