We had our first real snow of the season last weekend in NYC and it got me thinking – I’ve got to post about snow etiquette! Some people love the snow, some people detest the snow, and some people (like me!) love the snow only when it happens December through February (by March, I’m beyond ready for spring!). But regardless of our like or dislike of the snow, we can either embrace it (skiing, anyone?) or deal with it. And dealing with it is easier when we follow these modern etiquette tips for the snow!

Snow Etiquette Tip #1: Keep constant complaints to a minimum.

Yes, I totally get it. The snow can be a nuisance, especially when you have to dig out your car and slide your way to work. But we can’t control the snow, so we can choose to find the good in it instead! No one likes a constant complainer, so if you’re tempted to vent to your co-worker for the tenth time, try to shift your focus towards the positive aspects of snow, whether that’s a favorite outdoor winter sport or the cozy feeling you get curled up under a blanket while it snows outside the window.

Snow Etiquette Tip #2: Wear appropriate clothing.

In Norway, where snow covers the ground for the entire length of winter, there is a common phrase: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” It’s always good etiquette to dress for the occasion, and winter is no exception! Dressing warmly with the right apparel will make you look more sophisticated and chic than trying to look trendy in clothes for the wrong season.

Snow Etiquette Tip #3: Remove outerwear at the door and use the coat check.

When socializing outside the home – think restaurant, bar, museum, etc. – it is proper etiquette to remove your coat, gloves, and hats after entering the establishment. It is especially important to remove these items once you step inside the door of a restaurant and before you are seated at the table. Winter coats can be bulky and require some space to remove, and you don’t want to do this at the table and risk brushing up against neighboring diners. It’s always best to use the coat check if one is available – and remember to tip $1 per coat.

Snow Etiquette Tip #4: Shovel your sidewalk – but keep in mind where your snow piles are going!

If you live in a house (apartments and condos are exempt!), it’s good etiquette to shovel and salt the sidewalks around your home. This is viewed as a civic duty in all cities and towns, but some even require this by law. Be aware of where your snow is piling up when shoveling or using a snowblower – make sure the snow piles are not blocking someone’s car, path, or on the adjacent sidewalk. You don’t want to create extra work for your neighbor.

Snow Etiquette Tip #5: Help out the elderly!

After you’ve shoveled your own sidewalks, help out an elderly neighbor by shoveling theirs. You’re already bundled up, and the extra half hour of work could be considered your workout for the day – one hour of snow shoveling burns up to 500 calories! Your neighbor will be beyond grateful, and you may even inspire others to partake in this simple act of kindness and service. Also, if you’re walking on a sidewalk with snow banks on either side, let an elderly person pass you on the shoveled part of the sidewalk by stepping up into the snow bank.

Snow Etiquette Tip #6: Don’t park in someone else’s shoveled spot – but don’t claim your territory either!

This is a tricky one. In many residential neighborhoods of large cities, street parking is the norm. If your neighbor has created a parking space by shoveling away the snow directly in front of their house, do not park in your neighbor’s “space” because you haven’t shoveled your own! Keep in mind that the streets – and thus the parking – is open to the public and it is a civic duty to shovel in front of your home (see tip #4 above). Therefore, even if you’ve shoveled a “parking space” in front of your house, you should refrain from setting up lawns chairs and/or signs claiming what is not technically yours.

Stay warm and enjoy this snowy time of year!

For more modern etiquette tips, check out my other blog posts here!