by Claire Gillespie

Winter is my most consistent time of year.

I am always home for those weeks in December, always spending certain dates in certain places with certain people. I will always celebrate Christmas and remember the people who are no longer here to celebrate it.

Winter, to me, is always:

The never-ending internal conflict over whether I want it to snow, because yes (cute, seasonal), but also no (dangerous, country grinds to a halt).

Bittersweet, though always more sweet than bitter.

The season to show everyone how much you care about them, to give them presents and cards and send cute texts and plan seasonally appropriate activities.

Going to the Christmas markets, even though we always complain they’re too busy and too expensive and find a pub to go to after half an hour.

Asking my friends a thousand times when they’re going home for Christmas, almost setting up a Google calendar, but never getting round to it and just asking them a thousand times more instead. (Sorry guys.)

Claiming I love winter, only to spend 80% of my time complaining about the cold and crying, ‘WHEN WILL IT GET WARMER?’

Watching the rain out of the window and it being perfect, until the time comes to leave the house, and then it being distinctly not perfect.

Buying a new jumper, even though I have so many, to celebrate the start of my favourite style season.

No one ever seeing any of my outfits because I’m always wearing one of three interchangeable coats for one of three weathers: rain; cold; intensely cold.

Listening to Christmas songs too early (October) and wanting to plug my ears every time I hear them come December.

The days being darker – which I controversially love – because early evening and sunset is my favourite time and it’s nice to be able to watch it from my office window.

My family; how we still celebrate this season even though it causes us so much pain, and I remember how incredibly strong we are.

“Walking down empty streets at night with the Christmas lights on.”

Walking down the main street, past the place I used to work, the place we met, and remembering how horribly sad I was and then remembering how glad I am we got over all of that.

The cold wind on my face when I’m wrapped up head to toe and the feeling of being completely at home.

Not being too mad about spilling the millions of cups of teas on my toes because it helps keep my feet warm, just for a second.

Hot chocolate replacing lattes as my drink of choice in every ‘shall we get a coffee’ meeting.

Walking down empty streets at night with the Christmas lights on.

My mum’s driving tours of our village to show me all the Christmas trees and lights that have gone up since the last driving tour (last week).

That chill in the air that feels like an ending and a beginning all at once.

Claire Gillespie | @clairegillesp

Claire is a writer and historian from Leeds, currently learning Arabic and tweeting about left-wing politics, the intrinsic value of Jeff Goldblum and dachshunds (though not together, yet).

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