Thoughts on Winter-een-mas

Yes, the season is almost upon us.  No, I’m not talking about Christmas, Hanukkah, or the like. No, I’m talking about Winter-een-mas.

Just what is Wintereenmas?  Well, the short version is that it’s a holiday for gamers, celebrated from the Twenty-Fifth to the Thirtieth of January, and was created by Tim Buckley, artist and author of the web comic Control+Alt+Delete.

As for the longer version—well.  Let’s use the man’s own words:

What is Winter-een-mas?

Winter-een-mas, in it’s essence, is a holiday for gamers. It is a celebration of games and the gamers who play them. Video games allow us to do things, go places, see stuff that we couldn’t do in real life. They can be an escape from reality, a release after a long day, a fun activity with friends, or just an enjoyable way to pass time. They give us a lot of entertainment. So why shouldn’t they be celebrated?

And in the same spirit, gamers themselves are extraordinary people. There are millions of people world-wide that enjoy video games. Some are hardcore fanatics, some are casual gamers. But we are all part of the same community, and it’s a community to be proud of.

The Winter-een-mas season lasts all of January, with the actual holiday lasting seven days, January 25-31.

How do I celebrate Winter-een-mas?

Well, Winter-een-mas is fairly new, so there aren’t a lot of traditions yet. Those will come with time. Here are some practices that I suggest:

Wish people a Happy Winter-een-mas! Some people might not know what you’re talking about, so be prepared to offer a brief explanation of the holiday. Say it when you enter/exit a chat room or game server, say it to friends and family. Even say it to strangers. Spread the word!

Show your Winter-een-mas festivity. During the holiday, wear game-related stuff. Wear gaming t-shirts. Draw gaming logo tattoos on your arms and hands. Find interesting ways to wear gaming accessories as fashion accessories. Even dress up as your favorite game character or console, if you’re so inclined.

Gift giving is not encouraged for Winter-een-mas. It could too easily detract and destroy the spirit of the holiday. If you want to exhange gifts, make them very inexpensive (under $10), or even better, handmade. A handmade card, picture, gaming console stand, etc will mean a lot more to the person receiving the gift. Winter-een-mas gift cards are available on this site and are free for you to print out and give away. And most importantly, keep it game related!

This is a big one: Write letters of praise and thanks to the developers of some of the video games that you most enjoy. These people are directly responsible for providing us with such entertaining material, and they deserve to know that they are appreciated. If you go to the website of the developer, you should be able to find some email addresses. Write them a letter wishing them a Happy Winter-een-mas, and letting them know how thankful you are for the work they do.

Play video games! This one should be obvious. During the Winter-een-mas holiday, make it a point to schedule some gaming time into your day, even if it’s only for a little while. Play video games on each of the seven days if you can. Treat yourself to a new game in the name of Winter-een-mas, if you can afford it.

Organize Winter-een-mas LAN parties. Have some friends over for some multiplayer. Go to the arcade with some friends. Play an online game with other people. Start a server in the name of Winter-een-mas.

Be nice to your fellow gamers! I know that we’re all competitive by nature, but at least for the Winter-een-mas season, try to go out of your way to be pleasant to your gaming bretheren. This doesn’t mean you can’t lay the smack down on some people in Call of Duty, but just keep in mind the fun spirit behind the season. Try not to let people irritate you as much. Enjoy yourself! Make sure you tell people how much you enjoyed playing a game with them.

There are many ways to celebrate Winter-een-mas. As long as you keep in mind the spirit of the holiday, feel free to come up with your own Winter-een-mas traditions. Then email me to tell me how you’ll be celebrating Winter-een-mas, or send pictures. I’ll share them with everyone. This is how we develop holiday traditions

Do I have to play video games to celebrate?

Of course not! Much like you don’t have to be religious to enjoy christmas, you can celebrate the spirit of Winter-een-mas even if you aren’t a gamer. Just wish some people a Happy Winter-een-mas and support the nature of the holiday!

I live in a place where it’s summer now… when do I celebrate Winter-een-mas?

Winter-een-mas was originally created because of the bitter winter chills, but has expanded to encompass the gaming spirit. What better way to take your mind off the cold than with some video games? However, just because Ethan is dealing with winter, it doesnt mean the entire world is. But you can celebrate Winter-een-mas just like everyone else.

No matter what one may think of Buckley or his comic, the idea is fantastic.  It’s a week-long celebration dedicated to celebrating gaming—and more importantly, bringing gamers together.  Gaming is a wonderful hobby, and it really deserves this holiday.

There are plenty of things someone can do, no matter their involvement in gaming.  A simple wishing of a happy Winter-een-mas is sufficient, but if one is really in the mood to celebrate, they can do things like host a L.A.N. party, maybe give a gift—though, above all else, the focus should be the fellowship.  Gamers coming together to celebrate the hobby we all love—-host a gaming party, invite people over for a few rounds of multi-player (yes, people in your house, though on-line multi-player will suffice if physically getting together isn’t feasible), trade gaming stories, play an old game for the thousandth time, play a new game that you might not otherwise pick up.  The list can go on.

Personally, I like to suggest that, when gamers aren’t actually gaming together, people do things like dressing up for the season—a towel-cape-thing, a paper crown, a controller/game pad on a stick, and you’re ready to go.  Or taking the time to explain to people what Winter-een-mas really is and try to get more people involved.  Either way, spreading the word is about the best one can do—after, again, making your fingers fly across that keyboard or over that controller with your friends.

Winter-een-mas is right around the corner, my friends.  Let’s all get ready to come together in fellowship.


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