Wintertime is storytelling season in many cultures. Long, cold nights offer the perfect backdrop for families to gather inside and share their histories and traditions. As we enter this winter season, Madison Magazine captures that same spirit through local stories that reveal who we are as a community.

For starters, we show how hearty Madisonians conquer the elements by turning snow and ice into winter playgrounds. Our “Winter Wonderful” cover story, starting on page 56, shatters the myth that Wisconsin winters are to be avoided. Editorial director Neil Heinen further challenges this misconception in For The Record, page 34, with his business case for relocating to Madison from warmer climates. Who wouldn’t want to live in our city, which looks gorgeous in snow? In this issue, we have the lowdown on popular outdoor sports to get your blood pumping, food and drink to warm your soul and fun activities to fill your social calendar. We embrace the season, and that says a lot about who we are.

December is also a time to take a look back on the year. While the rest of us watched the unpredictable presidential race unfold through the news media, WISC-TV political reporter Jessica Arp had a bird’s-eye view. She writes in Politically Speaking, on page 36, about some memorable moments from along the campaign trail, which started well before 2016. Gloria Reyes also pauses for reflection in her Spectrum Voices piece, starting on page 38. As a deputy mayor of the city of Madison and a former policewoman, Reyes offers an unflinching perspective on a contentious year between blacks and law enforcement. Their writings give us context and help us make sense of the changing times in which we live.

As I look back on 2016, I see some important stories that Madison Magazine brought to light and the people who shaped them. Among them were Shamiaa Stewart, who demonstrated how a person who spent most of her adult life as a homeless person could turn her life around; Alex Hanna, Anders Zanichkowsky and Z! Haukeness, who have created awareness about the need for health care coverage for transgender individuals in Dane County; and Laura P. Minero, a doctoral student and an undocumented Mexican immigrant who has broken through barriers on her journey toward U.S. citizenship. We also gave our readers a dynamic mix of arts, entertainment, dining and lifestyle features that our readers expect from us.

It’s winter storytelling season. Whether it’s covering critical issues or busting myths about winter, we’re telling the story of Madison.