The winter season technically begins on either 21 December or 22 December in the US since this is the date of the Winter Solstice for all areas above the Equator. It is conventional, however, to count December, January, and February as the three winter months in the US. As to holidays, winter generally fits between Thanksgiving Day and Saint Patrick’s Day.
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All areas of the US will be colder during the winter than any other time of year, but just how cold differs greatly. In San Diego or Miami, for example, it is not uncommon for winter highs to hit the 70s, while Chicago or New York City may be experiencing temperatures that don’t get over freezing all day long.
In general, the Northeast, Midwest, Great Plains, and Rocky Mountains get extremely cold for much of the winter, get plenty of snow, and see winter conditions for three months or more. Meanwhile, the South has rather mild winters, with Texas, Florida, and Southern California staying relatively warm and pleasant most days of the season. This explains why many Americans, called “snowbirds,” have a winter home in the South and a home in the North for the rest of the year.
Nights grow long and dark during the winter throughout much of the US. Many trees in the North, other than Evergreens, are stark and bare. Cold winds often howl through the branches, which hold few birds in them since many birds have already migrated south till spring. Many other animals hibernate during the winter, and many grasses and plants die off. In the North, crops cannot be grown in the wintertime except in special greenhouses.
The cold, bleak days of winter cause people to bundle up in heavy coats, hats, and gloves and wear several layers of clothing. Hot meals and drinks, indoor activities like TV watching, board games, or going out shopping help fight the effects of the climate.
Christmas and New Year’s come in the midst of the winter season and help people to cope with the bleak weather experienced in many parts of the country. However, in warmer parts of the US, most activities continue as usual during the winter, and there are few if any snow days or freezing cold days.
Popular holidays celebrated during the winter months in the US include Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day.