For kids (and grown ups), there is nothing like playing in the snow; in fact, being the first to plop into fresh snow is probably one of the most joyful feelings in the world. We all know that a snowman is an anthropomorphic snow sculpture. Generally built by children, in some cases, snowmen are part of themed winter festivals. Kids usually decorate snowmen with found objects or things found in nature such as berries for eyes, branches for arms and a rock for a nose. The history of the snowman is well-documented in Bob Eckstein’s book, The History of the Snowman
Snow becomes suitable for packing when it approaches its melting point and becomes moist and compact. This allows for the construction of a large snowball by simply rolling it, until it rolls up to the desired proportion. Making a snowman out of powdered snow is difficult since it will not stick to itself—I remember being in Fairbanks, Alaska a few Decembers ago and because it is a cold desert, the snow had no real moisture to it, making it impossible to form a snowball. So, the best time to build a snowman is usually in the next warmest afternoon directly following a snowfall with a sufficient amount of snow, just like today. In North America, snowmen are built with three spheres depicting the head, torso, and lower body. This is a good how-to video in case your snowman-making skills are a little rusty.
It is common after rolling the snowballs for the body to then dress and decorate the snowman, usually with rocks, coal, sticks, and vegetables or fruits. Carrots or cherries are often used for the nose, as are sticks for arms and stones or even raisins, cranberries or licorice for eyes (traditionally folks used lumps of coal). To give it even more personality, some people like to put their favorite accessories on their snowmen, such as scarves, mittens or hats. It really can be a reflection of one’s own personality and creative expression. One of the best rewards of building a snowman is the feeling of accomplishment afterward!