How Southerners Do Snow Days

Elizabeth Laing Thompson

People say Southerners don’t know what to do with snow.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

Maybe we Southerners don’t know how to plow snow or drive on ice, but we do know how to turn even the tiniest snowfall into a lifetime memory. An epic experience. An endless photo stream that leaves all of our blizzard-weary Northern friends scratching their heads and saying, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a measly inch of slush! We get that much snow every single minute.”

No, our Yankee friends don’t always see snow the same way we do. It’s not their fault. When your house is buried up to the eaves in dirty snow all winter long (bless your hearts), snow eventually becomes a messy inconvenience—but for Southerners who see snow only a few magical days a year, it’s different. We have made a pact here in theSouth, almost as sacred as ice tea and Sunday suppers: Together we will uphold the Southern Snow Ethic, and teach our children to do the same. What’s the Southern Snow Ethic, you ask?

Not a single snowflake shall be wasted. Not on our watch.

Every flake that falls on Southern soil shall be played in, sledded on, and pounded into service as a slushy snowman. Every flurry-fall, however small, provides an opportunity for skipping school and work. Every sleet pellet shall be used to celebrate with childlike abandon alongside family, friends, and random neighbors we meet while pulling makeshift sleds down the street behind trucks, ATVs, and the occasional family pet.


Because of the Southern Snow Ethic, we can take two inches of ice and turn them into a glorious four-day extravaganza of sled-crafting, hill-hunting, and casserole-sharing.

With the Southern Snow Ethic, there are no excuses:

Not enough snow to make a full-sized snowman? Sure there is. You either borrow your neighbors’ snow, or you decorate the hood of your pickup with a snow-baby.

No snow boots? No problem. We can transform plastic grocery bags into waterproof snow boots. (And gloves and hats, if necessary.) We look ridiculous, but we don’t care. Our usual impeccable Southern fashion sense does not apply to Southern Snow Days.

No sleds? Think again. We can make sleds out of anything. And we do mean anything: cardboard, greased cookie sheets, garbage can lids, Styrofoam packaging, laundry baskets, garbage bags, even our beloved tailgate coolers.

No snow tires? Who cares? We don’t need chains on our tires to get us home from work in a snowstorm; we have our own frostbitten feet to walk us home for miles along the gridlocked highway, thank you very much.

Because it comes so rarely, we Southerners have the luxury of celebrating snow as the most beautiful of winter’s gifts. For us, it’s not a mess. Not a delay. Not an inconvenience.

We see snow as the essence of childhood, and innocence, and freedom. Something white, and pure, and beautiful. Something fun. Something surprising. Something no one—not the weatherman, not the government, not the superintendent—can control. It shows up, it takes over, and we just let it fall where it wills, for as long as it wants.

When it melts, we’ll get back to school, to work, to real life. But today—and maybe tomorrow, if the freeze holds—God himself has declared a Southern snow day, and that means a day off for everyone, no matter how rich or poor, blue collar or white collar or redneck under the collar. So grab your plastic bags and your laundry baskets, and have yourself a Southern Snow Day.


Head to the Front Porch

This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Elizabeth Laing Thompson writes novels for teens and books for women about living life and building family God’s way. She blogs about the perils and joys of laundry slaying, tantrum taming, and giggle collecting on her author site. A mother of four, she is always tired, but it’s mostly the good kind.