There are lots of firsts in life.  First word. First tooth. First pregnancy.  First kiss (one of the best firsts of all!).  And in just two short days, my daughters and I will celebrate our first Christmas in our new town in Northern California. 

All the joy that had been missing in the last few years, as I clung to a job I had outgrown and continued to live in a town I could no longer tolerate, has returned in full bloom, just in time for Christmas.

It’s funny how your happiness quotient has a direct effect on how you decorate for the holidays. This year, I decked the halls with zeal, stringing white lights on and under and over everything – INSIDE the house!  Every day, I look forward to the sunset and impending dark of night so that I can plug in the magic cord that lights up the interior of my home like an inside-out Gingerbread House.

My daughters are at their dad’s house right now in Southern California. They’ve already celebrated one Christmas, and I’ll pick them up at the airport on Christmas Eve for Christmas No. 2.  Their real Christmas. This back-and-forth, flying-down-to-SoCal-visitation-thing is really working well, by the way. I must admit, it’s been nice to have some time alone this last week before the BIG DAY. I’ve been able to get all my shopping done, and the best part is, I don’t haven’t had to sneak into the house from the garage and run to my bedroom to hide the shopping bags so the kids won’t see them.

There is a SLIGHT chance that we may have some snow here on Christmas day.  More like we’re HOPING.  It snowed here a few weeks back and the town went nuts! The last time it snowed here of any significance was in the late 1800s. It was SO COOL to wake up to a white outdoors. I know that many of you reading this are still recovering from that big snowstorm a few days ago and are probably thinking that I’m crazy. Snow SUCKS, right?  But when you’ve lived in the Land of Perpetual Sunshine for 23 years, getting a little snow is a huge deal.

For all of you who will be traveling this Christmas to find your joy, to lands near and far, cold and warm, I wish you the happiest of holidays and the shortest flight delays possible.