Every year about this time, people start wistfully saying "Oh, I wish we could have a white Christmas." I want to smack these people. Seriously, I almost threw something through my television screen when one of the anchors said it last week. Fortunately for my immediate television viewing needs, the meteorologist immediately replied "Well, you can keep on dreaming." (Fortunate for my cats, too, since they would have been the only thing handy to throw. Hee.) Oh, I suppose I used to be one of "those people." Though we've never been prone to white Christmases here, the thought is nice. It seems magical, doesn't it? Snuggling up with your loved ones next to a beautifully decorated tree, sighing over a cup of hot (possibly spiked) cocoa and gazing out the window at the beautiful snowflakes, each one so delightfully different from the next. A storybook image, no question.
Okay, that's the storybook. Here's the reality. Or MY reality, at any rate. Your mileage may vary. Some people live alone, sans loved ones for snuggling (okay, the pets DO count, of course, but that's not what we're talking here). Some people have to travel on Christmas to be with their loved ones. Only 75 miles, in my case, but still, travelling is required before loved ones are even remotely within snuggling range. Not that I would actually snuggle with my parents or siblings, but let's call it metaphorical snuggling. Emotional snuggling, perhaps.
Several years ago, a nasty storm blew in late on Christmas Eve. My parents had come to town earlier in the day to pick up my brother at the airport. The meteorologists were making dire predictions, so I insisted my parents take all my gifts to the family back with them that night, in case I was unable to make it the next morning. (If you're wondering, I couldn't go then and spend the night, as I had no one to take care of my animals. For the record, I also had requested that they bring MY gifts to me, so I could have some sort of Christmas if the dire predictions panned out, but they refused. "We won't have Christmas at all until you're here." Ha.) I went to bed that night with snow on the ground, and awoke the next morning to find the streets covered with at least 2 inches of ice. Sheer, glazed, slippery black ice. I stepped onto the sidewalk to test it, and realized that unless I was planning to skate the 75 miles home, I wasn't going anywhere. Not the 75 miles to my parents, not even across town. This was before I had a cellphone, and there was just NO WAY I was venturing out in that. I resigned myself to a day spent alone.
Have I mentioned that my cantankerous floor furnace had stopped working a couple of days earlier, and the repair guy was out-of-town for the holidays? That it was something like 10 degrees outside and I was heating the entire house with 2 small space heaters? No? Well, that was the case, and it really added to my holiday spirit. Praying that the ice wouldn't break just the wrong power line and leave me completely in the cold/dark, I pulled out the sofabed, layered blankets and sleeping bags, put one heater on each side and closed up the rest of the house. The animals and I snuggled into a giant mass on the sofabed and turned on TNT's 24 hours of A Christmas Story marathon. (Okay, that part wasn't bad. The snuggling critters and Ralphie.)
I called my parents, and was assured that there would be NO Christmas until I could be there to join them. Yeah, right. I told them to go ahead, no reason to ruin everyone's Christmas, and was told emphatically that THERE WOULD BE NO CHRISTMAS until I could join them. Sure. An hour or so later, my mother called to ask if I would mind very much if they went ahead and cooked the turkey, etc. I TOLD YOU TO GO AHEAD. A few minutes later, another call. Would I mind very much if they went ahead and opened presents after all? I TOLD YOU TO GO AHEAD.
It was a long day. My aunt and cousin called--they also were snowed in (albeit together) and were trying to make a festive meal out of the contents of a cupboard not planned to provide such. We all managed a few giggles at our plight. Eventually the day passed, the periodic naps became full-on sleep and Christmas was over.
Not the most stellar Christmas ever, wouldn't you agree? So the next time you find yourself wishing for a white Christmas, remember--someone else might get what you wish for.