Monday, December 27, 2010

Which Christmas is the most vivid to me? It's always the next Christmas.
Joanne Woodward

This Christmas was to be the first time I hosted at my home. I had prepared weeks, even months in my mind, for Christmas Eve with dinner and church, brunch on Christmas morning, sledding and a big fancy dinner on Christmas Day. I was so excited for Nick's parents, his brother and our sister-in-law, his sister and Grandma to come to St. Louis. I love entertaining and hosting and just couldn't wait to have his family here.

It was the Christmas that never was.

Snow moved into the Midwest late on December 23 and by mid day on Christmas Eve snow was coming down heavy here and they were snowed in up in Iowa.

They couldn't even get out of the driveway. To say the least, I was devastated.

Our first Christmas married, we spent the holiday alone. Nick had taken so much time off in November for our wedding and honeymoon that we simply couldn't get away for Christmas. It was very sad to be all by ourselves for such a family centered holiday. I promised myself that, if I could help it, I'd never do it again.

Now just two years later, here we were again. Alone on Christmas.

It was a terrible feeling but absolutely nothing we could do about it. It was no one's fault. Simply a turn of weather fate.

All we could do was make the best of it.

As the snow laid heavy on the trees, Nick was working on Christmas Eve. He came home we set our "oh crap we're alone again" plans in motion. We headed to the local park with Winnie that afternoon for sledding.

Beautiful snow that ruined Christmas.

Sweet Winnie prints on the way to sled.

Nick and Winnie heading to the sledding hill.

With Winnie on the sledding hill.



On Christmas Eve, as planned, we headed to church for service. The roads were terrible so I think I told Nick about 75 times how thankful I was that we took me. The service was beautiful of course. Candle light and an angel-like choir.

In my heart of hearts for my whole life I've always loved Christmas so much. With this officially titled "Crappiest Christmas Ever" it was good for me to be at church on Christmas Eve and understanding how it was all simply so much bigger than us. The beauty and magic will return each year and that I can simply look forward to all that is to come!

Putting the angel on the tree Christmas Eve.

Heading to church.

On Christmas morning we slept in. The cynic in me thought, "whatever do we have to get up for?" But when we did rise we had a delicious breakfast strata with cinnamon rolls. This year we (stupidly, hindsight is 20/20) agreed to not exchange gifts. So the only thing we had to open was from my mom. Our gifts really were lovely, monogrammed terry cloth roles from Land's End. Cozy and so thoughtful. Winnie and Bella also had gifts from Santa Paws who stopped by... they were very excited with fancy wet cat food, a squeaky reindeer toy and Dentastix. It's the little things.

With Winnie on Christmas morning.

Coffee in his fancy new bathrobe.

When I knew Nick's family weren't coming for Christmas I put a semi-desperate plee out on Facebook. I had dinner for eight that I'd gladly open to anyone that didn't have a place for dinner. Or if anyone was gracious enough, I could supply food, drink and a free golf lesson for family that was willing to open their home to me and Nick.

Thankfully, a woman I have known through my Tri Delta alumnae group (I'll forever extol the power of Tri Delta) extended and invitation to her family's big lunch on Christmas day. It was so nice to not only have a place to go but also invited into such a welcoming home. We had a delicious lunch (they even humored my Christmas poppers!) and even had her two darling boys lead us in a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday, Jesus."

A big lunch at Kara and Greg's home - complete with my Christmas popper crowns!

After lunch we took the long way home through Forest Park (we conceded to sledding, too cold!) and then enjoyed an evening on the couch with a warm fire. It was not at all the Christmas I planned but it was a very nice day and now I just have next year to look forward to!

At the base of Art Hill in Forest Park, you can see all of the sledders behind me!

Fancy Christmas dinner for two. Random leftovers plus a delicious grilled steak. Can you spot the Beagle?

Um, hi, are you going to eat that?

Best Christmas ever, per Winnie.


SueMac said...

Oh, so sorry, but it looks like you had a wonderful day after all.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry the snow ruined your plans. It's definitely something that happens here in good ole' Missouri. I really admire how you made the best of it though!!

d.a.r. said...

Oh sweetie. The best laid plans..

Looks like you graciously made the best of what you had and what wonderful friends you have to adopt you for the day!

Note to self...never agree to not do gifts...ha!

Newlywed Hostess said...

I am sorry about your snowed in Christmas.

But at least you found someone that loves the Christmas Poppers (or Crackers as we called them!)

We always had them for Christmas dinner. It is so much fun. Now I make my husband's family do them too!

Jen said...

Well, it looks like you made the most of it even thought it wasn't what you planned. Is that Kirkwood Park I see for sledding? Growing up in Kirkwood, I totally miss going there and sledding. One day, I will move back to Kirkwood!

Jillian, Inc said...

So sorry about the change in your plans - but it does seem you made the most of it. This was the first Christmas for me being divorced and my son was with me on Christmas, so that was a blessing. My family lives far away and never comes for Christmas so it was just me and my little boy. But I felt surrounded by blessings this Christmas. Hope you have a wonderful last week of 2010!

ramblinbess said...

I found your blog through another blog, but now I'm going to have to post the picture of my beagle, Jacques, trying to get to our Christmas dinner! Glad you enjoyed the holiday after all!

Samantha said...

I feel you completely. We just couldn't go home b/c Brandon hasn't been at his job too long.

Natalie at Our Old Southern House said...

oh, r., so sorry it didn't work out. i can't even imagine!! but it looks like a great time, in spit of it all. :-) ::hugs::

The Mulberry Girl said...

OHHHH!! That would be SO SO dissappointing! From now on, exchange gifts, even if you have to put a $10 limit on them! I'm so glad you were able to make the best of things despite the change of plans! ps..I love your glasses, they are darling!

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