There is something reassuring about the longevity of the humble snowman. According to one source, there is evidence that he has been around since at least 1380 (Bob Eckstein, 2007, History of the Snowman).
From the age of 3, kids know exactly what you’re supposed to do with a heavy layer of wet snow on the ground. If you spent your childhood in the chilly north, there is probably a picture of you somewhere with pink cheeks standing proudly beside a lopsided snowman. Chances are, that snowman looks similar to the one we built with the kids this weekend.
Adorning Christmas cards, ugly sweaters and front lawns this time of year, Mr. Snowman is remarkably stable in appearance: 3 balls of snow, carrot nose, stick arms, and rocks (or more traditionally coal) for eyes, mouth and buttons. (Note: Frosty (of the song) strangely had a button nose instead….which just looks wrong to me. Besides, who has buttons big enough for that??) Then, you search the bottom of your winter storage for worn out hats and scarves. The corncob pipe is one thing that has typically been dropped. We can’t have our snowman setting a bad example. Besides, pipes are hard to come by these days. Isn’t it interesting that the format hasn’t really changed much though?
Even Olaf, the little snowman that longs to experience summer, from Disney’s “Frozen,” maintains most of the same features. He is one of Disney’s most endearing sidekicks.
While you can buy “Snowman Kits” featuring clothing and accessories from Amazon, I would argue that part of the fun is finding these items on your own. However, I don’t think they will ever be able to find a suitable, sell-able replacement for giant, dirty, mis-shapen balls of snow.
So, as long as the unpredictable climate continues to provide us with snow, and as long as children are willing to drop their video games and venture outside in sub-zero temperatures (or their parents force them to), I believe we will always have snowmen.
One very important thing has changed though: we now have waterproof mittens!