just like the ones

For the first time in 8 years—probably longer than that, but
I am pretty sure it is at the very least, and minimum, 8 years—I had a white
Christmas. And while I am not one to let nostalgic, touching lyrics in
schmaltzy holiday tunes dictate my life (for instance, I will never roast a
chestnut on an open fire, because that is such a fire hazard, and role-playing
games with snowmen are just weird), I have always very much loved, since I was
little, the idea of the romantic white Christmas, and have always felt,
secretly, that that is how it supposed to go. I would not turn down a chance to
be lying on a beach in Aruba on Christmas eve, believe
me. But deep in the most private recesses of my quietest heart, it would feel
all wrong, and it would take many, many drinks in quite a number of coconuts,
and maybe even some pineapples, to make everything right again.

Living in San Francisco is not the way to get yourself the kind of picture-perfect icicles-glistening,
robins-bouncing-through-snowy-fields, Christmas-lights-blazing-through-fat-snowflakes,
Yule-log-crackling-and-eggnog-heavily-spiked-while-snow-piles-up-against-the-windowpanes
Christmas eves that you’re looking for and, frankly, expect. It’s never stopped
me from expecting a Christmas miracle, and waking up to find that we can go
sledding down Lombard Street and then retire home, stomping slush from our
boots, to pour a bottle of Bailey’s into our coffees and watch stop-motion
holiday specials, both of which are extremely warming to both the heart and the
soul.

Flying out to Utah for Christmas, however, is exactly the way to do it. We were out for brunch on
Christmas eve, sitting on the enclosed patio, when E. nudged me and nodded to
the big floor-to-ceiling windows. "Oh my God!" I said, and dropped my
fork, and he laughed at me. "It’s a white Christmas," I said.
"You don’t even know—" I said. "Sure I do," he said. And the
snow was perfect and fat flakes were falling from the sky and it was sticking and it was Christmas eve and my
eggs were perfect and I was having a white Christmas, just like the ones I used
to know.

It kept snowing, that night through the party at his
family’s house, where I withstood wave after wave of relatives, all of them
ridiculously lovely and friendly and welcoming, and all of them, all nine
hundred thousand of them, wiping me out. It was snowing on the drive home,
because I did such a good job. Good job! the snow said. You were so charming
and did not make any fart jokes! It snowed through the night and in the
morning, it was snowing when we woke up, exactly the way it was supposed to, as
if I had special ordered it and the world said, "Sure thing! We are happy
to serve, and here too is a charming and picturesque child in a snow hat, making snow angels on a Christmas-light-lit lawn
as our special gift-with-purchase for you!"

We were up early, and it was Christmas, and still snowing.
The mountains loomed up behind the town (there is more mountain than sky here)
and we drove to his parents’ house and ate homemade fancy breakfast and
snuggled up on the couch next to the tree and I was swiftly spoiled
ridiculously with books and a pony and candy and jewelry and a stocking with so
much stuff in, it couldn’t all fit in a stocking. And I wish I had taken
pictures—of the trees outside covered in ice and snow, and the perfect tree,
and the gifts piled around, and the doe-eyed expression of childlike wonderment
on my silly little face because everything was just right and couldn’t be
better and I was feeling lucky to be there, having the very first white
Christmas I had had in as long as I can remember.

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  1 comment for “just like the ones

  1. anon
    December 27, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Merry Christmas, Anne. This post had me beaming like a drunken idiot (and that has nothing to do with the amount of alcohol I’ve consumed in the last week). I’m back at work myself, and not happy about it, but so glad to share even a brief moment of your happiness, which bursts out of your writing like holiday confetti. I honestly could not be happier for you, and I honestly believe you have earned every single moment of this wonderful new life that you, YOU my friend, have crafted for yourself.

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