This past Christmas was the best one in recent memory. The chalet we rented in Flagstaff was decorated for the holidays, complete with a Christmas tree. I was more thrilled about this than I probably should have been, seeing as I’m an adult and all. But it has been so long since we’ve decorated for the holidays… I think the last time we had a tree was 2007. To be honest, I haven’t really missed having a tree. I’m not a fan of hauling out the decorations, being the ONLY ONE who decorates, having to keep the tree watered, keeping the pets away from the ornaments, living in fear of finding tinsel in the catbox, vacuuming needles, etc. etc. ad nausium. We just put the presents on a table and called it a done deal. This year, though, it was a lovely surprise to walk into our rental and see all of the decorations. It wasn’t overdone, just the right amount of festive touches that reminded us of the holiday without being overbearing or in our way.

We had a good giggle when Bailey jumped out of the Jeep and into the snow. She spread her legs out wide, dug her nails in, and sniffed for a good long moment before she started walking around. After that we had a hard time keeping her OUT of the snow. She LOVED it. The wraparound deck came in handy – we could let her (and Porsche) go out and race around without having to worry about her wandering off. She played in the snow, barked at the folks walking their dogs (even in the midst of the snowstorm… one lady walked a herd of five dogs, twice a day, regardless of the weather conditions), and went NUTS over the squirrels. BONKERS. COMPLETELY APESHIT.

We pretty much spent all four days in our pajamas. Our friends Aaron and Michelle, and Amanda and her dog Porsche, came up on the 23rd and spent the night. We stayed up late and ate way to much and drank even more, then played a hilariously inappropriate board game called Would You Rather? – The Twisted Sick and Wrong Version. The normal version would have been much too tame for our group, after all. Some of the questions were just AWFUL, but the hilarity escalated as the booze depleted. We feasted on Espo’s tamales, chili, Enchilada soup, berry pie, and a craptastic amount of junk food. We listened to music and ignored the television, played with the dogs and fed them far too many treats (Bailey is going to have to be treated for high cholesterol, I fear). The menfolk tended the fire, and I took too many macro pictures of ornaments.

Aaron, Michelle and Amanda all departed mid-afternoon on the 24th, just as a snowstorm started to roll in. Bill made a nest in front of the fireplace, and we snuggled and sipped whiskey and watched the snow fall. IT WAS SO FLIPPIN’ ROMANITCAL, YOU GUYS. It was wonderful to experience my first white Christmas since leaving Maine, and Bill’s first white Christmas ever. We just kept looking at each other and sighing, “Oh man, this is soooo niiiice.”

We left just briefly on Christmas Day to do a bit of exploring, and found the heads of a couple of trails that we want to explore this spring. Then it was back to the chalet, back in our jammies, and I read a book while Bill watched football. We mocked the people struggling to drive up the hill in front of the chalet, and generally felt superior in our Jeep-ness. The driveway hadn’t even been plowed out before our arrival, but Bill just smashed the Jeep into the snowbank until he gained access. YEAH, JEEP.

We had some of my epic chicken noodle soup and generally grazed on all of the other leftovers. We were more relaxed than either one of us could remember being in a very long time.

We were sorry to leave on the 26th, but we drove back home feeling quite a bit better prepared to deal with the return to “real life”. We’re definitely doing this again next Christmas. The rest of the photo set is here, if you’re interested.

Bill went back to work on Thursday, and I spent Thursday and Friday doing homework. I cooked a bunch last weekend, and Aaron and Michelle came back over on New Year’s Eve to party and spend the night. We were briefly visited by Amanda and her boyfriend, and our next door neighbor, and just enjoyed a mellow night listening to music and watching Phil Collins: Finally – The First Farewell Tour. We made an attempt at playing another round of Would You Rather, but gave up when we were too buzzed and giggly to read the cards. We slept in on New Year’s Day, then sat around eating donuts and coffee cake and mocking the parades on TV. Aaron and Michelle left at around noon, Bill’s sister Karen stopped by for a brief visit, and after she left I went back to bed for another three hours.

And here we are today, back to reality. I love having a couple of weeks off around the holidays, but man does it make it tough to come back after spending all of that time in stretchy pants.