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Embrace the cold months this December

87473521When: December 21

What: Although already cold in certain regions of North America, the official first day of winter isn’t until late December, coinciding with the winter solstice. As the shortest day of the year approaches, people start turning up the heat and getting ready for the holidays. Whether it’s celebrating the holidays or preparing for more cold months, take the time to recognize the first day of winter on Dec. 21.

Background: Occasionally called midwinter, the winter solstice is when our point on the earth is farthest from the sun due to the earth’s tilt and rotation. This time has been marked for thousands of years by cultures the world over, making this a time for holidays, festivals, and celebrations.

Story Pitch: A change in season brings new challenges and activities, so the start of winter marks a great pitching opportunity for a variety of groups. With the inevitable cold, heating system manufacturers should focus on providing customers with information on maintaining and upgrading their heating systems. Energy providers can use a similar angle, but should expand their focus to include keeping homes and businesses energy-efficient. It’s also skiing and snowboarding season, so winter sports companies can focus on the first day of winter for promotions aimed at bringing people into the sport as well as drawing customers from warmer climates. Meanwhile, hardware stores can promote winter as a time to get those renovations done. In addition, charitable groups that aid the working poor and homeless can remind the public that the onset of winter is a time to make donations of clothing and money for heating fuel, and that continued support is needed well beyond December.

Story Hook: Researchers are still trying to determine the effects of global warming on weather from year to year, but it’s been shown that in certain cases it can make winter more extreme. How much impact does a change in winter energy consumption have on the environment? Keep the following in mind when making your pitch:

  • How do increased heating fuel costs affect families and businesses?
  • How can someone begin training for a winter sport? What should someone look for when purchasing new gear?
  • Beyond donating clothing and food, how else can people help the homeless in winter?
  • What causes the biggest drain on home heating systems in winter?

Tips: Be sure to pitch accordingly with the weather in your target area. For example, if the region is known for harsh winters, provide contact information for a meteorologist or home energy expert to talk about how best to prepare for the coming winter.

Resources:

Citizens Energy Corporation
(617) 338-6300
inform(at)citizensenergy.com
www.citizensenergy.com

Energy Star
(202) 343-9451
www.energystar.gov

National Ski Areas Association
(303) 987-1111
nsaa(at)nsaa.org
www.nsaa.org

United States Naval Observatory
(202) 762-1467
usno_pao(at)navy.mil
www.usno.navy.mil/USNO

–Researched, compiled & written by Nicholas Testa
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