White Christmas 2021

Living in the temperate maritime climate that we do, snow is a rarity, or has been for most of my life. So, it feels like a minor miracle that as I reach for the blog post title, “White Christmas” to mark this extraordinary moment, I discover I already have a post titled White Christmas published 25 December 2017. It seems we are seeing that climate patterns are changing for my children’s generation, however it is still with wonderment at the serendipity of the snow arriving exactly on Christmas that I’m reaching for the same title anew to mark the occasion once again this annum.

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Happy Christmas 2021 from the VanLaanens

The day would have been special enough even without the advent of snow. For months now Lake had been saying Christmas was his favorite season of the year.

“What is your favorite season, Tolle?” he asks me. “Mine is Christmas!”

We had a wonderful advent month full of Christmas traditions, and yet, for Lake it was the most exciting moment that Christmas was finally set to arrive. Nothing could dampen Lake’s optimism that Santa would be bringing him a (yes, real live) lynx and a Paw Patrol headquarters lookout tower. If I had any suspicions otherwise, I discreetly kept them to myself, and joined him in the possibility of his tantalizing fantasy.

I drove Lake and Lady Kitty out to NanaBaba’s on Christmas Eve in the afternoon, stopping for a fun visit with Michael’s dad and wife on the way. When we arrived to NanaBaba’s it was like stepping into a warm and smiling embrace with the household decked and twinkling. Baba had a fire roaring and Nana had hung the stockings by the chimney with care. She invited us all to choose a stocking so Santa would know which one was which. We crowded around the fire, examining the needlepoint stockings with great interest. The anticipation by all was palpable, buzzing like electricity near a high voltage tower. Lake chose the stocking depicting a Christmas tree bursting with presents, and for Lady Kitty we all agreed the ice skating children scene was perfection, and for Baba, the Santa carrying a Christmas tree slung over his shoulder like Paul Bunyon. With that settled, we turned our attention to Santa’s eminent arrival. Lake surmised Santa would not be coming down the chimney, not a chance, he wouldn’t fit. He would be coming in the back door, and his reindeer would stay outside in the backyard.

On Christmas Day in the morning, Lake was dancing and hopping around the living room. Do you, Dear Reader, remember Christmas morning when you were five? The anticipation? The tingle-in-your-toes excitement? He shot around the room like a boomerang, inspecting the bulging stockings and noticing that the platter of carrots he left out for the reindeer and Santa was nowhere to be found. (Per Lake “Santa doesn’t need cookies. He’s already too fat,” so carrots it was) . Lake was thrilled to open his stocking, and to teach Lady Kitty how to open her stocking, as well. As we were enjoying a lovely Christmas breakfast – heaps of fresh fruit along with the family standard: cooked muesli – Baba suggests to Lake we go “migrating”. This is an inside joke with NanaBaba and Lake, whereby they travel and go places like a flock of migrating animals. We all thought that sounded like a marvelous plan. So, Nana packed us all up picnic lunches, and we headed out to Westport for a walk along the sea.

Then the minor miracle occurred. After a picnic out of the wind in the sunshine of the gorse bluffs, as we were walking back to our awaiting vehicle, it began to snow, On Christmas Day! At the Washington Coast! We could not believe our good fortune for nature to add to the Christmas festivities in this special way. Lady Kitty was not as delighted as the rest of us. She was downright disapproving. Such a cold wind, she reprimanded. Why, it’s driving crystalized flakes of rain straight into our faces. She was not impressed.

Lake said “It’s like we’re really really tiny and we’re in a popcorn popper!”

Candy from our stockings was Lady Kitty’s saving grace. Eating one caramel corn after the other, continuously (keep ’em coming!)- she was able to keep her spirits up.

It kept snowing throughout the day. Nana revealed her long sojourn in a rainy climate by declaring, “Lake did you look out the window? It’s like pouring down snow!” Lake raved at the snow and was delighted to make snow angels and go sledding, and me: My heart was singing like a brass band!

We woke up on Boxing Day to a heavily flocked neighborhood. We’re so unaccustomed to snowy winters that it delights us to no end and turns the traffic upside down. I had a gorgeous but harrowing white-knuckle drive home with Lady Kitty (thankfully after 4.5 hours, we arrived without incident), while Lake stayed behind with Nana and Baba for the rest of his school holiday. Unfortunately Michael had to stay home to work this year’s holiday, but he was stoic about his tour of duty at the hospital and uncomplainingly commuted in every day. He is undeterred by driving in the snow and reported great snow performance from the Fiat 500e.

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Winter continues to press in tightly. The world, adorned with a diamond encrusted mantle of fluffy ice, day after day sparkles and shines so festively, comically squeaking and crunching beneath every footstep, and yet Lady Kitty is adamant she does not wish to go outside. Even with the sun shining brightly and blue skies beckoning, Lady Kitty is admonitory about the state of the cold. She pulls her hat to a rakish angle, then yanks it completely, as if, by refusing the snow gear, she would be able to cast off the whole distasteful phenomenon of the White Christmas snowfall.

The rest of us, we all enjoyed the novelty and the beauty that the blanket of snow provides, lending a memorable sheen onto our White Christmas 2021. We hope that you all had a very happy Christmas as well! We wish you much health and peace and joy, and we look forward to celebrating various milestones with you in the new year – hopefully together! A perfect White Christmas Day (and beyond), I’m glad I spent it with you!

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