I spent my high school years in Massachusetts which was even colder, but at least there was snow to sled and ski on. My path later led me to California for a year- I handled that winter with ease. I don't even remember having a coat. Next was Northern New Mexico which was much like my present(other than this year) home in southern Colorado where the sun shines at least 300 days a year, but also snows plenty to keep winter sport enthusiasts happy for a quarter of the year.
This is my first European winter and lucky for me in started late. Just the past few weeks have cooled down to close to freezing at night and we saw our first snowflakes a few days ago, no accumulation. Today was a brilliant, sunny day with warm temperatures close to 15 degrees Celsius, a pleasant change from the cloudy, wet days that proceeded it.
On days like today, we replenish the woodpile, wander the woods collecting kindling and pine cones, and eating lunch outside. The winter landscape is a bit harsher and as the solstice is approaching, days are very short. I chase my kids around outside for the hour of daylight after school before we retire to our cozy home for the long evening. I hear the first two months of the new year are cold, wet and can be dismal, but sunny days are thrown in to keep the inhabitants from fleeing to warmer climates. (Warmer climates are only an hour away on the French Riviera- I should manage.)