Christmas in the Desert – On the Wrong Feet Christmas 2014

Christmas in our family, as I suspect is true with many other families, is a holiday steeped with traditions.  We have events that we attend or host: the lighting of the town tree, the lighted boat parade, my friend and my semi-formal Christmas party.  We even have a special way of decorating our tree – setting our camera up on a timer and allowing it to record our festivities by taking random pictures every minute or so (they are hysterical).  We use ornaments that have been in the family since before I was born.

This year, with all of our Christmas items sitting in boxes in Washington waiting for our house to sell, has been very different.  I am one who loves tradition.  I like consistency and I enjoy reliving the past years events by adding to them with each passing year.  So I struggled with this year, living in a temporary apartment in the city with not a single Christmas decoration to our name.  Some friends of ours lent us some festive Christmas items and I purchased a few things which helped.  But as the holiday season rolled along and we found various new events to partake in, I realized that this was the perfect time to break away, create new traditions and embrace ones from long ago – the time when Husband and I lived here before we had children.

And so we did.  Here are some of the highlights in no particular order…

We spent the day at a horse sanctuary, a place of retreat and retirement for horses who have been abandoned and/or abused.  We have friends who rescued a mule.  His name is Herman and he looks rather dapper in his bells, bows, and bright red Santa hat. 

Herman the Christmas Mule

We went to a local nursery and picked out a small tree for our apartment.  The key word here is small.  We decorated it with a few ornaments and lights.  Here is Carter carrying our tree to the car.

Carter carrying the tree

Boys with Tree Collage

We attended Luminaria at the Desert Botanical Gardens (the place Husband and I got married all those years ago).

Luminaria Collage

The Luminaria was an event Husband’s mom used to treat us to when we lived in Phoenix long ago.  This year we got to return the favor, inviting her to join us on this special event.

We attended Lucia Fest with Husband’s dad.  This is a tradition from Husband’s childhood and it was fun to have our boys be a part of it.  Cody and Carter were snatched up right before the St. Lucia program and asked to be tomten, Cody is third from the left and Carter is on the far right. 

Lucia Fest

We went to Tucson and had a traditional Swedish dinner.  The boys opened presents with their cousins and spent the day playing (sorry no pictures of this).  We had Husband’s mom over for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  The boys got remote control monster trucks which they LOVED and spent hours driving around our apartment complex.

Boys with remote trucks 

And lastly, on Christmas day, we headed out for a desert hike.  I foresee this becoming a new tradition for our family.

Christmas Hike 1

The trail was peppered with other Christmas day hikers and bikers enjoying the winter desert warmth.   

Chirstmas Hike 2 Collage

The desert floor was green due to the recent rain we have received.  

Christmas Hike 3

We saw these two cute cacti while on our hike.  Cody decided they represented himself and his brother – Carter Cactus on the left, being the shorter of the two, and Cody Cactus on the right.

Christmas Hike 5

And Husband and I attempted a desert selfie.  We took several – this one is by far my favorite.

Christmas Hike 6

With all our Christmas items still stowed away in boxes in a different state, I came to realize that “stuff” is just that – stuff.

This year we created new traditions that I can’t wait to carry forward with us into the years to come.

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About shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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