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The Family Frosty

A legend in his own mind.
A legend in his own mind.

Frosty is a member of our family, and a legend in the making. He was born one winter in the usual way: a clap-patted bit of snow pressed into the standard lumpy form and decorated with a mix of twigs, outdated accessories, and withered vegetables. I don’t know what it was about this particular snowman that earned our pity, but we soon committed to rescuing him from the sun.

But we didn’t have that magic hat. So we took a starter from his slushy side (like sour dough or friendship bread starter) hoping to capture his essence. Now, with a tradition of thirteen years and counting, we can hardly call him a guest even when he gets a little obnoxious.

To begin your own tradition you need a good snowfall, a ziplock bag, and a little freezer space.

Build and decorate your snowman in the usual, or unusual, way. If you like turtles or hula dancers (both seen on our street last year), go with it. You might even have your snow-person morph from character to character each year. Whatever inspires you.

While snowmen from the north may have weeks to enjoy their usual pursuits, those living in warmer climes have time enough for only a few photo ops, a snowball fight, or a change or two of accessories before sun tanning becomes their primary activity. Whatever the case, when your guy gets a little listless, it’s time to begin thinking about moving him indoors.



Watch carefully at this stage.

You might want to intervene as soon as his shoulders sag and his stare becomes vacant. I’m of the school that freedom is important enough to him that we dare the sun until the last minute. I allow Frosty to sink into total unresponsiveness, knowing he will revive as soon as the freezer kicks on.

An expectant Frosty wonders what color of scarf he'll wear this year.

An expectant Frosty wonders what color of scarf he’ll wear this year.

Whenever you decide, scoop a generous heart-sized ball of snow out of your snowman. (Actual heart tissue is not necessary and is difficult to determine in any case.) Pop the ball into a Ziploc bag and take him inside. I recommend a visible spot in your freezer until your snowman has made several outings.

Once everyone looks forward to his yearly return, you won’t forget about him. You can safely move him to the back, out of the way of your day-to-day activity. He won’t complain, but you might notice that the ice cream seems to disappear a bit faster without close supervision.

With every snowfall, or at least once a year, bring your snowman starter out of hibernation.

In our family we form the base of the new body around the ball. But those who are medically minded might enjoy a surgical procedure–inserting the starter as gallbladder one time and cerebellum the next. You can be creative here.

Oops! Make that Frostina. And boy is she surprised by how much the grandkids have grown.

Oops! Make that Frostina. And boy is she surprised by how much the grandkids have grown.

When it comes to long-term storage, you might be concerned about power outages or equipment or human failure. We faced that situation last year. When the freezer door was left ajar, our starter went limp. His color, though often white, was positively transparent. We feared the worst.

Luckily, Frosty’s health wasn’t compromised because we had a good seal on the bag. We simply refroze him.

If anything, his heart was strengthened by the experience.

Following these directions should give you and your snowman many happy years together. One day his legend may be the stuff of stories. So start your family tradition this winter.