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WINTER WARMTH

Old Man Winter has officially arrived. In many parts of the country, the winter landscape is full of snow, ice, and sleet. (Remember that “big” snow from your childhood?) Many people are thinking about ways to stay warm and toasty during the season. Warm up the winter – and rekindle a few cold-weather memories – with some simple indoor activities for your group.

  • Decorate with snowflakes, icicles, and strings of white lights. List words to describe a cold, winter day. (Examples: frigid, bone-chilling, bitter, frosty, arctic) Ask: Do you like cold weather? Name some of your favorite outdoor activities.
  • Talk about ways – old and new – to keep warm in the winter. (Examples: hot water bottle, long thermal underwear, electric blankets, flannel sheets, snowsuits, stocking cap, earmuffs, door draft stoppers, layered clothing, insulated pants, fireplace, portable heaters, storm windows) Tell some funny cold weather jokes, easily found on the internet. (“It was so cold that hitchhikers were holding up photos of their thumbs.” “It was so cold that when we milked the cows, we got ice cream! When we milked the brown cows – we got chocolate ice cream!”
  • Pass around copies of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and look at the weather forecasts. Display a variety of outdoor thermometers. Reminisce about memorable winter weather. Ask: What’s the coldest day you can remember? Longest cold snap? Largest snowfall? Biggest ice storm?
  • Warm up with some winter songs. Suggestions: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Button Up Your Overcoat”
  • Display some old quilts with a winter pattern, like snowflakes. Share recollections of the art of quilting passed from generation to generation. Ask the quilters in the group to describe some of their winter quilting projects, like a baby blanket or wall hanging. Ask what fabric was best to use for the warmest quilts.
  • Show photographs of men with beards. Ask the men if they ever grew a winter beard and how long they kept it. Share tips on growing a full beard. Talk about types of beards, such as chin strip, goatee and mustache, and mutton chops.
  • Discuss the meaning of the Japanese proverb: One kind word can warm three winter months.
  • Show color photographs of winter landscapes (with trees, snow, birds). Ask participants to suggest a caption for each photo. Identify winter birds from photographs. Talk about the best food to attract birds in the winter.
  • Pass around old photographs of a rural one-room schoolhouse with pot-bellied stove. Reminisce about attending school in the wintertime. Ask: Who fed the stove with wood, coal, or corn cobs? What jobs did schoolchildren have in the winter? What kinds of winter clothing did the teacher and her students wear?
  • Identify winter fabrics by touch: wool, corduroy, suede, fleece, flannel, velvet, mohair, cashmere.
  • Celebrate National Soup Month in January. Focus on a favorite from childhood: chicken soup. Sample varieties such as noodle, rice, and dumpling. Talk about chicken soup as a folk remedy.
  • Chat about best hot drinks for the winter months. Offer some favorites: flavored black or green teas, hot chocolate drinks, or warm apple cider with spices.
  • Limber up fingers with yarn and a hook. Enlist volunteers to help with a simple crocheting project: lap blankets for other residents.
  • Warm the heart with thoughts of Valentine’s Day. Get a head start on a special craft. (See Crafts Through the Year for three projects.) Write a love acrostic poem (each letter of the word ‘love’ is the beginning of a new line of verse). Discuss the meaning of love idioms. (Examples: love at first sight, love is blind, puppy love, the love of his life, head over heels in love, love will find a way)
  • Plan an imaginary trip to a tropical location – Hawaii. Watch a travel DVD of the 50th state. Sample some tropical fruits – pineapple, mango, coconut. Listen to Hawaiian music as you daydream about sun, water, and beaches.

WINTER EVENTS TRIVIA QUIZ

  1. What’s the name of the National Football League championship game, held each year around the first of February? Super Bowl
  2. What’s the name of the famous New Year’s Day parade held in Pasadena, California?Tournament of Roses Parade
  3. Which federal holiday honoring a civil rights leader is observed on the third Monday of January? Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  4. Auld Lang Syne” is sung on this holiday. New Year’s Day
  5. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was born on January 8, 1935. Name him. Elvis Presley
  6. Which Christian feast on January 6 celebrates the visit of the Magi or Wise Men? Epiphany
  7. The birthdays of which two U.S. presidents are celebrated on Presidents’ Day? George Washington and Abraham Lincoln
  8. On what special day does Punxsutawney Phil make a weather prediction? Groundhog Day
  9. Which famous NASCAR race is held in February at a speedway in Florida? Daytona 500
  10. What’s the name of the famous dog sled race held in Alaska in early March? Iditarod

“WINTER WARMTH” written by Sue Hansen. © 2010 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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