by Ashley Weeks Cart
Christmas was a joyous affair this year. It all began with a trip to Santa’s Land in Putney, Vermont. A rinky dink, albeit adorable, amusement park from the 50s. Highlights included the enormous slide and Courtland’s epic fear of Santa Claus. Oh, and Wes posing with one very disturbing Humpty Dumpty. It was fitting as he took quite an interest in our backyard flock of chickens and egg collection all holiday.
Christmas Eve began with a trip to a local Alpaca Farm for a snowy hayride (the snow was not yet deep enough for a proper sleigh ride). The views were insanely gorgeous, and we stopped mid-ride at a small cabin in the woods for hot chocolate off a wood stove. Oh how I adore New England, especially at Christmas.
We then headed home to decorate ginger bread cookies for Santa Claus. Sunny set up shop in the middle of the living room and Doda assisted with the proceedings.
The most memorable event of the entire holiday happened after bedtime on Christmas Eve. We all pretended to go to bed, and Kimmy and I curled up in Sunny’s bed with her to “listen for sleigh bells.” Meanwhile, James and Doda headed up to the barn to bedecked Doda in a full on Santa Claus ensemble. He then came tramping down to the house, ringing sleigh bells, with a sack filled with toys. When we heard the sleigh bells on the porch, we encouraged Sunny to sneak out of bed and watch Santa from the top of the stairs. She was quaking with excitement, while Kimmy and I giggled with delight and vicarious joy from the magic of Christmas from a three-year old’s shoes. Santa pulled a present from his sack and left it on the stairs. We all raced back into Sunny’s bed and when I asked Sunny if she thought that the present was for mommy, she immediately declared, “No silly! That present’s for me! I asked for a rainbow, so Santa must have brought me a rainbow!”
Fortunately, Santa delivered on said request with a colorful wooden stacking block set in the shape of a rainbow. And indeed that was the present left on the foot of the stairs. The next morning, Sunny regaled my parents with stories of Santa Claus and how she was so so sneaky that he didn’t even know she was there. It was as purely awesome as we’d hope. It’s going to be next level when we try to pull this off with both Courtland and Addison in the heart of their belief stage. The girls have completely renewed the true spirit of Christmas for our family, as children are apt to do.
The next day was filled with present opening and playing with new toys and snowy afternoon walks and our signature Christmas dinner of boeuf bourguignon. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. And I treasured all that time with my family, healthy, happy, together.