Never in a million years did I think I’d ever be eating breakfast Christmas Day at a the Fremont Hotel’s Paradise Buffet (“8 Stations of Culinary Delights!”) in downtown Las Vegas. But I did last year, while en route from Colorado to my mom’s house outside of Palm Springs, California. With a nine-year-old daughter tap-dancing in a holiday musical through December 23, we couldn’t begin our road trip until the morning of the 24th, which necessitated Christmas Eve dinner at a strip-mall Mexican restaurant in Mesquite, Nevada, and an overnight at the Las Vegas Luxor halfway through the drive to Grammie’s desert home.
For me, a girl who grew up with Currier & Ives winter holidays in New England (snow, fresh fir tree, warm fireplace, turkey dinner with all the trimmings), the whole Sin City at Christmas scene could have been pathetic and sad times 10. But my kids have often had funky Christmas mornings. Santa is accustomed to visiting our house a week early, as he did in 2005 and 2008 when we spent Christmas Day with extended family at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Prior to that, when the kids were toddlers and preschoolers, Santa brought their presents to New Hampshire, where we were visiting family.
My family doesn’t always have a traditional Christmas and I’m learning like it that way. This Christmas, we happen to be at our home — but we did something new this year: we went skiing with my mother-in-law, nieces and nephew on Christmas Eve. We had a casual lasagna dinner with my husband’s siblings, cousins, and both our moms, and the new karaoke software program — with a mic, amplifier and speakers — was a huge hit among all three generations (oh, the laughs we had singing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” “Proud Mary,” and “Summer Lovin.”)
My buddy SoCal Jen and her family are trying something new this holiday season: volunteering in Costa Rica. Over the last week, Beth and I have been regaled with stories of the Miners helping to plant trees, paint buildings and assist turtle hatchings near the Costa Rican coast. In between volunteer stints, the Miners have ziplined and horseback ridden though the Costa Rica jungle. Very cool.
Finally, Beth sends her best wishes from her home in the Twin Cities, where she and her family are creating new traditions in a snowy winter climate — a far cry from where she and her kids spent Christmas two years ago in Tucson. This winter, her husband has already become quite friendly with the snow blower, and I understand her young son has already picked up some stellar ice-hockey skills!
No matter where or how you are celebrating your Christmas, The Vacation Gals sure hope you are enjoying the generous spirit of the holiday. We’ve certainly appreciate your reading along over the past year, and we’re thankful for your support and readership not only now, but through the entire year. Merry Christmas!