|Merry Christmas, everyone!|
This Christmas has been unlike any other for our family. No picnic at the farm, no summer fruit; no weeks of planning and making gravlax and pate and antipasta and a feast for extended family. No pohutakawa, no dogs dressed up in tinsel, no shelling peas on the porch or jokes about trifle, no Swedish breads, no bead-spooning.
But also none of the magic of real cold, no snow: it was 18 degrees here on Boxing Day! But Christmas is Christmas, and one of the loveliest things about being in the Northern Hemisphere for Christmas is that all the imagery makes sense. "Happy Holidays!" everyone says here. And I think no, "the light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it" is something that anyone in these dark times, from any race or creed, needs to hear. And when it begins to turn dark at 3pm, and everywhere you go there are lights in the trees, and around the houses, then that image is too vivid to be relinquished.
So, what did we do with this unusual Christmas? First, we spent two days prior to Christmas at the beautiful Trapp Lodge, in the hills near Stowe. This place was established by the von Trapp family (from the Sound of Music) when they fled Austria during WWII. Set in 2,500 acres of forest, facing the majestic Mount Mansfield, it was easy to see how an Austrian family would feel right at home in this place. We had a relaxing time: the girls swam in the huge indoor pool, I spent time in the hot pool overlooking the mountain, and we walked through the snowshoe trails to the tiny chapel.
|"The hills are alive....." Well, we had to do that....!|
One morning I woke early and watched the sun rise over the mountain while thick fog lay in the valley below.
On the way home from Trapp, we stopped to pick up the smallest turkey Misty Knoll turkey farm sells - all 16.5lbs of it!
Christmas Eve was spent with our lovely friends, Susanmarie, Ellen, and Sofia. The girls made and decorated a gingerbread whare, constructed with the gingerbread that Pearl, the Guilty Dog had not managed to reach.......
|Strategising over the construction of the whare|
|Careful craftsmanship is required|
And we shared a wonderful feast.....
|Thank you, Susanmarie, Ellen, and Sofia, for sharing your Christmas Eve with kiwis far from home!|
Father Christmas made his way to Vermont a long 18 hours after he'd reached NZ shores.
|This is Bruce's bluffing face. It means "be afraid, be very afraid..."|
We ate our own Christmas feast.
|A creme brulee cake from Mirabelles for Christmas Day is one of VT family traditions|
And we took a walk as the sun set over the Adirondack Mountains.
The day ended with a glass (or two) of hot apple cider and rum, as we toasted friends and family across the oceans.
Snow or not, in Vermont or anywhere, Christmas is about celebrating the triumph of light and love. Merry Christmas everyone!