One of my favorite books as a kid -- which I think probably was some sort of sign -- was Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods.
I found the recollection of her time as a young girl living deep in the Wisconsin frontier in a log home built with her father's own hands fascinating; I read it several times over. I loved the detailed descriptions of the daily life, which was one of endless hard work, where every member of the family -- even young children -- had important responsibilities necessary to survival. Yet this hard work didn't seem like drudgery to me; I would set the book down, close my eyes, and indulge in reveries about what those tasks would be like. (In reality, my parents eventually gave up trying to get me to do anything resembling a chore; I was fairly undisciplined, in that regard.)
The highlight of the book was the Christmas celebration; relatives arrived from far away loaded in a sleigh which came gliding across the snow through the woods, with everybody wrapped in thick blankets. Children got handmade toys and adults got more practical gifts, like tools and clothing. They all went together to a big party at a neighboring farm and danced by candlelight, with the snow falling thickly all around.
This seemed like real Christmas, to me.
I liked the book so much that I even tried to replicate one of the experiences. Wilder recalled how she would go outside with a little bit of maple syrup, which she would pour in squiggles in the snow, and after a time it would harden into "candy." So of course the next time there was about an eighth of an inch of snow in the backyard (which counts as a major front-page blizzard in Portland) I took our plastic bottle of Golden Griddle and squirted some on the ground.
Now, I'm guessing the Wisconsin woods get a sight colder than western Oregon. Also it probably helps to use real, homemade maple syrup rather than...well, Golden Griddle. I waited patiently for about five minutes, but it hadn't really set up. I went back inside for a bit, but when I came back out to check, nothing really had happened. I grew impatient and decided to go ahead and taste it. Basically I had made sweet brown snow, with a little bit of dirt for texture.