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Christmas Travel

You know, it seems like summer was so long ago. The warm nights watching the grandkids chase fireflies, sitting next to the campfire roasting marshmallows and watching the sun dip into whatever body of water we were sitting next to. I LOOOOOOVE Summer and really want to chase it around the globe, but at Christmastime, I feel like I SHOULD be home – right?

A co-worker and his family packed up their belongings, took their dog to the sitter and boarded a plane for Aruba for Christmas. As he was gearing up for his trip, I started to think his idea might be fun. No cookies to bake, to meal to prep for and warm weather. The more I thought about it the more I started to think it REALLY could be fun.

I began looking at cruises for next Christmas. We could go to Mexico or Bermuda or even Aruba like my friend. Then the old pangs of “what about my family?” entered the scene. “Wait, I have a solution” she thought, “we can all go!” What a perfect idea.

So, I started to look at Disney trips, or back to cruises. Did you know that you can take a weekend cruise trip to the Bahamas for $81? I was blown away! Then my mind wandered a bit more and I looked at Alaska cruises – of course that really defeats the purpose of some place warm. Okay – back to the Caribbean.

The destinations are pictured beautifully, which made the daydreams run wild. Sitting in the lap of luxury on Christmas Day. WOW! In 80-degree temperatures, sipping some fruity drink with an umbrella in it and my toes in the sand listening the waves crash. Sounds awesome!

But then I started to remember all the amazing things that I love about Christmas in my tiny town. The lights have to be one of my favorites. Nearly every house in town has some sort of decoration strung on their front porch. Some are lavish while some are a simple string of Christmas color bringing light to the darkness. Even the downtown goes all out with lights strung across the street and this year a new park was devoted to this holiest of holidays.

I would also miss the smells of Christmas. Sure, it’s easy to imitate a freshly cut evergreen, but freshly cutting it yourself is a completely different story.

One of my favorite memories is taking my boys (and now my grandkids) to the Christmas tree farm, climbing aboard a horse drawn carriage and venturing out to find the perfect Christmas Tree. Some years we would freeze our fingers while other years we only wore a sweatshirt, but the smells were always the same. That freshly cut evergreen filled our house with its scent for weeks.

And then there are all those dreaded cookies, and pies and cakes and brownies. Yes, I really like to bake, it’s all true, but just like every other middle-aged woman, I also really need to lose weight (so says the doctor) so I try not to sample what I make, but that’s kind of difficult when both of my sons are born in December and we have birthday parties. Oh, and then there are the work parties and then Christmas itself. It would be hard to supply my friends at work with their rum cake, or my sons with their birthday cake(s) if I was on some island… right?

Another favorite part of Christmas is the anticipation of colder temperatures. YES, I know that I just got done saying that I love Summer (intimating that I don’t love Winter). It’s true, of the four seasons, winter comes in fourth in my book. But the crispness in the air brings everyone a step closer to feeling the Christmas Spirit. Naturally, if you live on an island or in the south you probably don’t feel the same, but for us northerners, it’s not Christmas till it gets cold.

Since I was talking about a fruity drink with an umbrella, I must admit that the one thing I LOOOOVE about Christmas is Egg Nog. Go ahead turn your nose up at it – more for me! I like Egg Nog, straight out of the container, I like it mixed in things, I like Egg Nog cookies, cakes and pies. I discovered a new Egg Nog recipe the other day. 1 part whipped vodka, 1 park Irish cream (I used Carolyns) and 2 parts Egg Nog. Stir, then add a shake of nutmeg. It’s Christmas in a cup! Okay, there might be Egg Nog in the Caribbean, but can I really take the chance?

While the idea of traveling for the holidays is still sexy and intriguing, I guess I’m just a little too old fashioned to eagerly pursue the trip. So, as I sit here on Christmas Eve, smelling the ham bake and watching the lights on the tree twinkle I remember how blessed I am to have my big wonderful family, all of my friends for whom I bake cupcakes and rum cake, and my silly dog who also seems to truly enjoy Christmas.

Penny will sit next to the tree and just stare at the lights for hours. She’s done it since she came to live with us, almost 10 years ago.

May you have a wonderful Christmas. Whether you’re celebrating at home or abroad, under palm trees or in the snow. Christmas is about family, friends, good food and laughter. May you find all of those things regardless of where you are on December 25. But if you are in the Caribbean, let me know if they Egg Nog.

Merry Christmas from the Fun Chasers!

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