"Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance -- each beautiful, unique and too soon gone."
I was raised in California where there is no snow at Christmas time. Or any time for that matter.
My first snowy winter was in 1998 as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Montreal, Canada.
I love it.
And I hated it.
I was mesmerized watching the very first few snowflakes land on the windshield.
Their designs were nothing less than magical.
The way they landed then colapsed, then melted into the tiniest drop you've ever seen.
I could have watched them for days.
I remember driving out in the Frozen Quebec countryside and seeing the sun reflect off the snow, creating a glitter effect that seemed too beautiful to be real.
All of a sudden I understood why they always put glitter on snowy Christmas cards.
I was in a winter wonderland.
The bitter cold that came along with the Canadian winters was a shock to my California bones.
I resented the millions of layers of clothing, the clunky boots, shoveling snow off the car 10 times a day and the frozen nose hairs when I tried to breath.
It was unbearably cold.
I have lived in a snowy climate ever since, and I swore I never would.
Just like back then, I have a love/hate relationship with the snow.
The road we live on is absolutely astonishing when it snows, nothing less than a scene from a wintry fairyland movie.
I love how excited my kids get when they wake up to newly fallen snow.
I love to see their cute little foot prints trailing our yard.
I love lopsided snowmen with carrot noses in the front yard.
But the cold still gets to me.
But this is my home.
All of my children were born here, they don't know anything else.
Their Christmases are filled with snow and puffy frozen breath and coats that make us all look like the Michelin Man.
The memories I have of Christmas here mingles with the Christmases of my childhood.
Being at my grandma and grandpa's house on Baker street.
The sweet smell of my grandfather's pipe, his dog, Shiloh, asleep on the end of his recliner.
Spending all day in the kitchen helping grandma make the Christmas feast.
My job was to wash and cut the fresh green beans for her bacon beans.
I also opened cans of olives and pickles and scrubbed and peeled potatoes.
I remember sitting in the living room by the fire opening presents.
The thrill I felt when that one was for me.
Being raised by a single mom, our Christmases were always very frugal.
Grandma made sure we had a good Christmas.
Sweaters, toys, Avon lotion and lip balm.
Oh, to be transported back to that place and time.
To hug my grandpa again.
To wash dishes with my grandma near my side.
Those memories are sweet to me.
I love to make these new memories for my kids, right here.
I hope their Christmas memories are magical.
I hope the memories they are making right here, right now will stay with them their whole lives long, just as mine have.
I hope you all have A magical Christmas filled with love and laughter and peace.
From our family to yours,