Christmas without a tree, without the lights and the tinsel; no shopping even or presents to wrap – it was wonderful. The children were 18, 17, 16, 15 and 14 – yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking but we were a newly blended family – I didn’t produce all those kids myself. If I had I probably wouldn’t be here to remember that Christmas.\
We were a rather strange blended family in that we didn’t have to blend all that much. One son and daughter lived in western Ontario; their father, my husband, lived in eastern Ontario; the other three children and I lived in northern Ontario – three points of a triangle, with a thousand miles between each point. This was our new age family.
The hectic holiday season approached – as you might imagine, ours could be either quite hectic, or very quiet and a bit lonely. But that year my husband suggested a trip, altogether, the seven of us. I jumped on it – no marathon spree at the mall, no crowds, no counting prezzies to make sure everything was equalized, no pine needles in the living room, no cleaning a turkey carcass – what a GREAT idea.
So we told the kids to keep their pennies, no presents this year – we were going ‘somewhere’ … yes, it might entail a bathing suit.
So four in northern Ontario boarded a plane for western Ontario, and eastern Ontario jumped in his Honda and drove west and we all met in a western Ontario downtown hotel. All seven of us – adjoining rooms, adults in one, kids in the other.
On Christmas morning we headed to the airport – holiday traffic has slowed down a lot by Christmas morning, which we were depending on because we travel standby – no seats, no fly. We had all sorts of contingency plans for splitting up if need be and who would fly with whom, but it wasn’t necessary. We all got on, heading to Los Angeles, Californ-i-a. The Christmas prezzie was Disney Land.
From the airport we piled into a van and drove to the home of a friend for a spaghetti Christmas dinner, then to a hotel just down from the gates to Disney Land. Once we showed the kids the room we said, OK, be good, see you at Denny’s for breakfast – we weren’t going to spend the night in the room with that lot. We headed back to our friend’s for some peace and quiet and a wee bit of cheer, perhaps.
Boxing Day was spent trying out all the rides, marvelling at the wonders of Disney Land because most of us had never been before. Our Christmases are [almost] always snowy and here we were in shorts, with palm trees and a gentle breeze in our hair. But there was also a huge tree laden with lights and decorations, and carollers in Victorian garb spreading Christmas joy through the streets, from Fantasy Land to Adventure Land.
The following day we met again and had a few more hours for rides before we headed back to the airport for the red-eye. Zim zam, down and back, two days – no dead tree in the living room, no de-decorating, no returns to the stores … and no turkey carcass. It was a GREAT Christmas.
I hope you all had a great Christmas, and if for some reason Christmas wasn’t all you had hoped for, I hope you can reach back to a Christmas past for a warm hug.
All images from Free Digital Photos