Chicago Decembers Win ~ Hands Down Doubters


Chicago Decembers always arrive in two parts. There is the wonder, but then there is the weather. The wonder glows from its traditional holidays. The weather growls from its traditional overcast. Like most Chicagoan’s, I look forward to the wonder, not the weather.

But wait a minute. Our December weather has been getting the same bad rap for years, whereas the facts actually say otherwise. For instance take those dreaded snow storms. Everyone has a tale to tell about the “big one” that paralyzed their day. However, the facts make it clear, we’re no Buffalo. The average December snowfall is a respectable 8 inches; the average December temperature 27 degrees.

So, if our December weather isn’t really as bad as we imagine, what’s really good about it? Along with its holiday glow, actually a great many things. Things we take for granted. For instance there are no mosquitoes. Think about it. By the time December arrives we know those pesky tormentors will be gone all winter long. As will all those sweaty days that can require two or three showers to survive.

And lets not forget whatever snowfalls December does bring us, they tend to be the good kind; not the icy, below-zero kind that molest our January’s and Februaries. Also, consider those unnoticed blessings like easier sleeping in cool bedrooms…easier weight-loss programs as our bodies burn up more calories…plus the biological fact that the winter brain is said to actually operate more efficiently.

Something else energizes our Decembers. All those calls, notes, and cards that don’t happen the rest of the year. In many ways, December is re-affirmation month. You hear from new and especially old friends in a happy burst of bonding. It lets you know, just maybe more people remember than you realize.

In making the case for our Decembers, also think of such sharable traditions as all those front-yard lights and decorations as far as the heart can see. What were simply neighborhoods in November, now explode into a festivals in December. Admit it, you find yourself oohing and awing just like the kids.

And talking about the kids, consider all the December treats the city offers them. From the tree in Daley Plaza to the skating in Millennium Park to the crown jewel of the season, lunch in Marshall Field’s Walnut Room [yeah I know it’s Macy’s, but indulge me!]

December — arguably the best month in the year. Every year. But don’t take anyone’s word for it. Step out, leave behind your inhibitions, and try to experience it as you once did. As that wide-eyed kid giddy at the thought of each new December day. And no, you’re not allowed to grumble, “I’m no kid anymore!” Because you see, you really are whenever you let yourself believe in December again….

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