Winter Wonderland

"Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless." Terri Guillemets

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." Edith Sitwell


Remind members of the day, date, month, season and year. Ask them to introduce themselves and say what they like, or dislike, about winter.

Have some examples on standby if anyone struggles to answer ...

- Cold weather, frost, snow and ice

- Shorter days, dark mornings and evenings

- Sitting by the fire, wearing socks and jumpers to keep warm

- Stormy weather, gales and rain, umbrellas and wellies

- Writing Christmas cards

- Opening the Advent Calendar

- Putting up the Christmas decorations

- Buying the Christmas tree

- Doing the Christmas shopping

- Making the Christmas cake

- Buying and wrapping presents

- Having a glass of mulled wine or a mince pie

Add to the list.


The season includes the months of December, January and February.

The winter solstice, or shortest day, is 21st December. The hours of day light (in London) are 7 hours, 49 minutes and 43 seconds. This is 8 hours, 48 minutes and 37 seconds shorter than the summer solstice (on 20th June in 2020).

The worst winters on record in the UK were:

The 'Big Freeze' in 1962-63. Temperatures fell to -20c across the UK and snow drifts of 20ft were experienced across Wales and the South West. The cold weather started in December and lasted pretty much until March.

The 'Winter Of Discontent' in 1978-79. A blizzard hit on New Year's Eve and caused widespread disruption to transport and power. This was also the winter of widespread strikes in the public sector, hence the impact was greater with many without heating, and sometimes lighting. (James Callaghan was Prime Minister at the time.)

Ask members if they remember the power cuts and ask how they filled the time without TV. Radio was often okay, as many sets were battery powered. Candles were often in short supply. As was food, as many distribution centres were affected by the strikes.

Who remembers having a bath or getting dressed in front of the fire?

Did anyone have an outside toilet at the time? (Remember Izal toilet paper?)

1981-82 was pretty bad, when the South West and Midlands had drifts of up to 23ft. The cold lasted throughout December and January.

The most recent extended cold snap was in 2009-10. Most of the UK suffered very cold temperatures, as low as -17c, with snow and ice not melting for several weeks. 1,000 motorists were trapped on the A3 in Hampshire from January 5th-6th and water and electricity supplies were disrupted.

Discuss with members who likes the snow?

Who remembers tobogganing, having a snowball fight and making a snowman?

Who had a duffle coat or a parka? What about mittens on a string across your arms?

What about bobble hats and scarves. Has anyone started wearing their's yet?

We all agreed that as long as you have warmth, food and company then snow and ice outside can be nice to look at. But when you have to venture outside, for work or other commitments, then things can get a bit tricky.

We also agreed that winters are generally warmer and wetter than they used to be, likely as a result of global warming.

IDIOMS Complete the following phrases with members ...

- The north wind doth blow and WE SHALL HAVE SNOW (An old saying) - Jack Frost nipping at your NOSE (Cold outside) - Blanket of SNOW (Freshly fallen, deep covering of snow) - Dead of WINTER (Midwinter)

- Not a snowball’s chance in HELL (No chance) - Cold hands, warm HEART (A nice person, underneath the frosty exterior) - A cold SNAP (A sudden and brief period of cold weather) - As pure as the driven SNOW (Innocent, virtuous, flawless) (As pure as the driven SLUSH is a person not so innocent, virtuous or flawless!) - Cold comfort (Not much of a comfort; an insufficient consolation) - In the cold light of DAY (A time and place from which problems can be objectively considered) - In cold BLOOD (Ruthlessly) - Left out in the COLD (Neglected) - On thin ICE (In an unstable or risky situation) - Snowball EFFECT (An escalating process, something that starts off small but grows very quickly as it picks up momentum) - The tip of the ICEBERG (The small detectable part of a much larger and hidden problem) - Add fuel to the FIRE (Intensify a conflict, make a bad situation worse) - Snowed UNDER (Overloaded with work) - Break out in a cold SWEAT (Sweat due to fear or anxiety) - Break the ICE (Do or say something to relieve the tension) - Send shivers down your SPINE (Suddenly become afraid) - Freeze UP (Find yourself unable to do/say anything because of panic) - Get cold FEET (Lose your nerve) - Give someone the cold SHOULDER (Snub someone or be intentionally unfriendly) - Go cold TURKEY (Abruptly and completely give something up) - Blow hot and COLD (Feel suddenly shocked or scared) - Pour/throw cold water on SOMETHING (Discourage or put a stop to something) - Put something on ICE (Put something aside for the moment, delay something) - Under the WEATHER (Unwell or in low spirits) - When hell freezes OVER (Never)


OPENING SONG. 'December, 1963', Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons -

Who composed the classical music 'The Four Seasons'? -

Go around the room and ask members which is their favourite season and why?


ROUND 1. Snow

1. What is the coldest day on record in the UK? (Nearest guess)

2. A foot of snow when it melts produces how many inches of water?

3. How much can the Police fine you for driving with snow on your roof or windscreen?

What is the Welsh word for Police?

4. Where does snow have to fall for there to be an official declaration of a white Christmas?

5. What was the name given to the 2018 winter storm, which hit the Vale Of Glamorgan especially badly?

What substance do Snow Ploughs spread?

6. SONG. 'Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow', Dean Martin -

Who remembers having a coal fire? What were the required accoutrements?

ROUND 2. Literature & Film

7. Name the seven dwarfs in the 1937 film 'Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs'?

8. 'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents!' is the opening line of what classic novel?

Who wrote it?

9. Where is the land of talking animals and mythical creatures that one White Witch has ruled for 100 years of deep winter?

Who wrote the books?

10. In Charles Dickens 'A Christmas Carol', which four ghosts visited Ebenezer Scrooge?

11. Which classic 1946 Christmas movie had James Stewart play James Bailey, a man down on his luck and visited by an angel who helps him see that life is worth living? -

What was the name of the angel?

12. SONG. 'The Christmas Song', Nat King Cole -

Does anyone know the words to the nursery rhyme 'Old King Cole'? (Complete the first line for the point)

"Old King Cole ...

ROUND 3. Music