The single-digit temperatures and ungodly wind speeds crossing most of the United States this week are the freezing, unwelcome results of a polar vortex (also known, forebodingly, as an: Arctic cyclone, sub-polar cyclone, or circumpolar whirl). All home protection techniques and safety precautions aside, here is my first and foremost recommendation for surviving the Polar Vortex of 2014: do not go outside if you can help it. Instead, and to make the most of the next few frigid days, consult this Polar Vortex Survival Guide (with helpful pictorial aids!).

photo (61)-A hot drink. Take this from the girl who drinks iced coffee all year round (and yes, I do get some strange looks while ordering a caramel iced coffee, light and sweet, in the middle of January). Pictured is one of my favourites, a homemade salted hot chocolate.

-A cozy blanket, to be wrapped in while sipping the aforementioned hot drink. You should also find the comfiest place in your house to curl up, be it in your bed, on the couch, or right up next to the heater.8286316104_7f69219cf1

-A good book. Now that you’re tucked in with your beverage and your blanket, pick a book. An old favourite, a Christmas present, a recommendation from your mom… Just make sure it’s a book, because we all know we won’t have time to read for pleasure once we’re back on campus in the spring. Right now, I’m reading Tenth of December by George Saunders.

photo (64)-A fluffy hat. This one is self-explanatory. The window for wearing warm winter hats is painfully narrow, and I wait ten months of the year for December and January to roll around and let me wear my ridiculous hats. Even though I’m not stepping out into the Arctic tundra, I’m not going to miss out on the chance to wear one of these fabulous pieces of headgear around the house all day (owl plushie not included).

-A laptop or tablet. StumbleUpon, BuzzFeed, Tumblr… Not to mention the Almighty Netflix. The powerful tools of procrastination are yours to command, guilt-free, over the remarkably long winter break UD students have to enjoy. You will not find a better time to start a new show or to catch up on your neglected ones*.

*For those readers who are finally tiring of watching Breaking Bad straight through for the seventh time in a row, might I recommend: CBS’s Elementary; ABC’s Castle; USA’s Suits; BBC America’s Orphan Black; the BBC’s Downtown Abbey; and, as always, the BBC’s Doctor Who.

photo (65)-A board game that takes a really long time to finish playing. Once those unfortunate members of your family who had to venture outside into the abyss return to the warmth of your home, settle each of them down with their own fluffy hats and tuck into Monopoly, the notoriously lengthy family board game. Winter break is about seeing your family, too, after all, and there’s no better time than when you’re all tucked up away from the cold.

Happy Polar Vortex-ing!

Claire Davanzo

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