As I shovel the foot of snow from my car, bursts of blizzard swatting me in the face, I’m silently dreaming of waking up Friday morning in the Sunshine State. Growing up in Florida, a “White Christmas” meant that your mom upped the ante this holiday and chipped in the extra cash for white-meat turkey. Sure, we have beaches, palm trees and 80-degree weather in December, but it never really felt like the holiday season they depict on the silver screen.

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Bundling up in eighteen layers of clothes to go scrape sheets of ice off your car? Now that looks like the holidays. Now that I live in Colorado, the beauty a blanket of pure white snow brings during the holiday season constantly dumbfounds me. I’m suspended in time as specks of glitter swirl through the atmosphere, shimmering in delicate streaks of sunlight.

The city streets balance silently between banks of murky snow, and the sidewalks are covered in sheets of perilous ice patches and free from most of the footsteps of normal walking commuters. Those present are mere faceless strangers, bundled up to their eyelids with sweaters, hats, scarves and hoods. The quiet anonymity given by winter is a time I relish.

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The day after a blizzard, the mountains radiate in the sunlight with white shrouds atop their shoulders. The forests’ normal cacophony of sounds are seasonally muted by the chill in the air. A stark breeze blows handfuls of settled snow from the tree branches and it catches in the light, creating a lustrous prism of life.

I never thought I’d fall in love with a season as well as I could fall in love with a person, a food, a place—but it happened. As much as I complain about wrapping my body from head to toe in wool layers only to step into a sweltering building and begin sweating, I love the ambiance brought only by this season. I love when the night falls earlier and I walk to my car beneath the city’s veil of light.

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In winter, you can be whoever you want to be underneath all those dry-wicking layers of clothing. Below that pea coat, you’re debuting the new you at holiday parties, giving the most thoughtful holiday gifts to loved ones, making selfless acts for those less fortunate. It’s dark and you’re afraid, afraid of it every getting light again. You like this darkness.

I’ll miss my white Christmas again, as I sit by the pool with family in Florida, but I will be back. And this winter, I’m going to do something out of character–I’m going to set specific and out-of-the-ordinary goals, I’m going to become the person I see at the end of those holiday movies, who had a super cheesy epiphany and embraces the love, positivity and kindness of those around them. I’m going to breathe in the harsh cold and breathe out warmth and love. I’m going to look at each snowflake that falls onto my snowpants on the chairlift individually, and be grateful for the unique symmetry of each.

I’m going to celebrate my deep love for winter in all the clichés possible and I don’t care who knows it.

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