For the ﬁrst 23 years of my life, I complained my way through winter after winter in Toronto. Water-logged boots, broken-down streetcars, tights under sweatpants, not being able to use “polar vortex” as an excuse to get out of an exam, the list goes on.
But now, following a peculiar series of events, I live in Los Angeles. It’s only not even December and I already want nothing more than to cozy up at my favourite cafe with a blanket scarf, my laptop and a latte while watching ﬂurries fall. Sort of the wanting-what-you-can’t-have mentality, I guess. If you’re spending winter out of Canada (and the cold) too, then don’t worry fam—I’ve got your back.
Fake it ’til you make it
Well, “fake it ‘’til you overheat and die” is probably more accurate. But seriously! When I was visiting L.A. last January I was comfortable outside in a t-shirt and jeans, while everybody around me was bundled up in toques, chunky knits and even the occasional parka. Now… I get it. You get sick of wearing tank tops and shorts all year round. So even though it’s 34C today, I’m writing this while wearing a lightweight jacket, ripped jeans and faux leather boots. The trick is to dress as if it’s much cooler than it is — and then position yourself inside near an AC unit accordingly. Eventually you’ll get used to and trust me, it’s comforting being able to dress the way you’re used to.
Dip out for a weekend
It doesn’t look likely that I’ll be coming home for Christmas this year. I’m fairly heartbroken and am still in denial about it, but I’m already trying to get organized so I don’t end up on alone on December 25th, eating mashed potatoes and bursting into tears when Linus explains the “what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”. I’ll probably spend the holidays with my boyfriend’s family in Palmdale, a suburb in the California desert. It gets really cold in winter so it *should* sufﬁce, but if not I’m looking into other options. Camping in Yosemite or skiing at Mammoth Mountain both seem like they could help me get my ﬁx. If you live somewhere that doesn’t have snow within driving distance, then consider other feasible options! Rent a house in the woods, borrow a friend’s cottage, even head to the ‘burbs if you’re a fresh-to-death city slicker. Any sort of weekend away will feel like a breath of fresh air, both literally and ﬁguratively.
Surround yourself with memories from home
It’s been proven that scent is strongly connected with your memory. So I’ve decided that stocking up on candles that smell like maple syrup, forests and campﬁres is of the utmost priority. I stumbled across an online shop called Smells Like Canada. A S’mores scented candle? LUMBERJACK SHEA BUTTER? Take all of my money. No, please, I insist. Just take it. Need some other ways to mesh your home and your homeland? Hang a Canadian ﬂag or sports team pennant on your wall. You could even opt for something cuter, like Stay Home Club’s Montreal hometown pennant to mesh more with your existing hipster decor. Replace your coffee table magazines and paperbacks with hardcopy books featuring the work of Canadian nature photographers, like Edward Byrtynsky or Neil Dankoff or add a subtle-yet-iconic HBC multi striped coaster set to any room.
Replace your traditional winter activities with snow-free substitutes
You can still do things outside during fall and winter without needing snow. You can do more things, really! You can have a cozy picnic with apple cider and hot soup in Thermoses. You can layer up and go for a hike in the woods. Just use your brain and you’ll come up with somewhere to go and something to do. On the other side of the spectrum — staying inside isn’t that bad, either. Curl up with Canadian classics such as Degrassi and my personal favourite: The Red Green Show (seriously, look that up).
Embrace your new climate’s, well, climate
Whether you’ve moved somewhere tropical, temperate, damp, whatever. Embrace that YOLO mentality and go from one extreme to the other. No snow? No problem. Spend November mornings out running. Spend Christmas day at the beach. Chances are, you’ll be back in Canada one day anyways. So for now, just make the most of your temporary surroundings. Opt for optimistic through all of this and remember: all you’re missing out on is snow. You could be losing a foot from hypothermia in a blizzard, or snowed in and resorting to eating a can of Chef Boyardee from 1999?. Things could be worse.