As we get older, we outgrow many cherished holiday traditions, but there’s one fine winter pastime that transcends age: whether you’re 8 years old or 98, you’re never too old to build a snowman (Protip: 98 year olds should generally avoid strenuous activity in sub-zero temperatures, but you see what I’m getting at). In case you’ve forgotten how it’s done, below is a crash course in the fine art of the snowman:
To begin, you need a good layer of packing snow (slightly wet snow that sticks to itself), ideally about eight inches deep. If you don’t have packing snow then unfortunately there are no snowmen in your immediate future – maybe go back inside for some eggnog. Do you have packing snow? Good, it’s all gravy from here.
Roll up a foundation snowball for your frosty companion. Make it sturdy. Make it solid. Your snowman’s fate depends on the durability of his foundation, so don’t mess this up.
Alright, you aced that step. Now make another snowball half the size – this will be the midsection – and a third one even smaller to be the head. Stack ‘em one on top of the other and you’re well on your way to having an anthropomorphic ice-buddy of your very own.
A snowman has sticks for arms. Not just any old twigs, though. A proper snowman (snowgentleman?) demands premium quality appendages. Find some long, solid branches – perhaps a fine maple or spruce – and make sure they have fingerlike protrusions at their ends. Take these graceful, elegant timbers and jam them (gracefully) into the snowman’s midsection. Wow, it almost looks like he could give you a hug! Except he can’t. Because he’s not alive. Also he doesn’t know if you’re on hugging terms quite yet, you’ve only just met. A handshake will do for now.
Although you may be tempted to leave your snowman faceless as an avant-garde statement about conformity in our modern world, you probably shouldn’t. The holidays are no time for that kind of political statement, and people will just think you’re weird. Instead, give him a big ol’ smile! Traditionally, a snowman’s mouth and eyes are made from lumps of coal, but unless you live in 1895 you likely won’t have any handy. In a pinch, grab some charcoal (similar to coal, but more…charred) and pop a few lumps into Snowy’s head. For the nose you need a carrot. Slot one into the nasal region and you’re good to go.
You could technically stop here, but then your snowman would be naked and unemployed, which reflects poorly on his entire snow-family. Wrap a scarf around the ol’ boy to keep him warm and maybe give him a top hat, cause he’s classy like that. Set him up with a broomstick so he has something to do. If your snowman likes to party, give him a corncob pipe. The options are endless!
Now go back inside, sit by the fire, have a drink, and gaze through the window admiring your creation. Your fingers are frostbitten and you have a runny nose, but it was all worth it. Happy Holidays!