Minnesotans' inclination to be neighborly meets its greatest test in winter months when cold and snow keep us indoors more.
Here are a few things you can do, even in the dead of winter, to keep the neighborliness alive until spring.
• Making soup? Make a little more and take some to an elderly neighbor or a family stuck inside with sick kids.
• Got the snowblower out? Instead of just doing your front walk, make a pass down the whole block.
• Have an elderly neighbor? Winter can be isolating for the elderly. Give a call to ask if everything is OK, offer to pick up something at the store, or leave a treat and a friendly note.
• Is your neighbor struggling to dig out or pull snow off the roof? Walk over and lend a hand.
• Did someone do something neighborly for you? One good turn deserves another. If someone shoveled your walk, thank them with some brownies.
• Are your kids learning to be neighborly? Get them involved in helping neighbors with chores. Or suggest they draw a picture or write a note that can be left as a surprise to brighten the day of an elderly or sick neighbor.
• How about a winter block party? Get permission to block off the street, or set up lawn chairs around a roaring fire in a back-yard brazier. Serve cocoa and hotdogs. Hold contests for best snow angel, snow sculpture or snowman. Start a Neighborhood Watch program, if you don't already have one.
• Going for a walk? Greet neighbors door-to-door and ask if they would like to bundle up and join the walk.
• Anyone new on the block? People with other cultural backgrounds? Go introduce yourself and invite them over for coffee or tea to learn more about one another's families.