How to: Winter

Will my hands ever stop being numb?

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

I know it’s the season of giving, but I’m broke.

It snowed, which means it’s time to swap the pumpkin spice for peppermint and blast Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

Most UW-Eau Claire students are accustomed to Midwest winters, but for the lucky few that traveled north for a college education, they have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.

Those pictures of campus during technicolor fall and lush summer don’t tell the full story, so this week I’m offering some advice and tons of complaints about everyone’s favorite season.


Snow probably seems fun right now. You can make your first snowman, fling snowballs at your friends and take great Instagram pictures. During November, winter doesn’t seem so bad.

Come February, when you’ve slipped into snow banks a few dozen times, narrowly avoided frostbite and spent every moment behind the wheel in a panicked frenzy, you’ll understand why so many Midwestern grandparents flock to Florida every winter.

Speaking of driving, the snow may seem like the perfect opportunity to practice your “Fast and Furious” skills, but it’s an even better opportunity to hit a curb, lamppost or parked car.

The snow comes first and almost makes winter seem enjoyable, but then the cold comes next.


Last week, I met a first-year student from Alabama who said, “I hate the cold, how long does this last?”

At the time, I didn’t have the heart to tell him how many things were wrong with that statement, so I’ll write it down now.

Last week wasn’t cold. Last week was balmy and tropical for November in Wisconsin.

Also, it lasts forever. More literally, it lasts for four to six months, but it’ll feel like forever. Maybe longer than forever.

Christmas songs are egregiously deceptive. “Winter Wonderland” is a lie, winter wasteland is the truth. 

Many Midwesterners will tell you they like living in the Midwest, if they moved elsewhere they would miss the seasons. This is another lie we tell ourselves to cope with the nightmarish suffering that is winter.

I’d gladly sacrifice the leaves changing colors if it meant I never had to scrape ice off my car again.

Being comfortable all the time? Yeah, sounds terrible, I prefer nearly dying when I go outside.


If reading this article teaches you one thing, it should be how to dress right for the winter.

All winter long, you’ll see people wearing shorts, even t-shirts. They’ll say ridiculous things like, “cold is a mindset,” and, “it’s not that cold, you should’ve been here for the winter of 2013.”

These people are liars and, arguably, morons. Being from the Midwest doesn’t make the winters less awful, it just makes us used to them.

Maybe you want to have cold symptoms for the next five months, but if not, wear layers. 

Jackets, scarves, gloves, boots, shove as many clothes as possible onto your freezing body unless you want it to become a freezing corpse.

If you look like Kenny from South Park and feel like you’re going to pass out from heat stroke seconds after walking into Hibbard, you’re properly dressed.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].