For years my Christmas, like so many others, consisted of sitting around, eating ham, drinking beer, and staring at the relatives, many of whom divided their time between staring back and staring at the multimillionaires playing sports on TV. Due to a perfect storm of events, we had the privilege of spending Christmas Day at The Cabin on the Vasaloppet practice loops, north of Mora, MN. While many folks would shudder at entertaining twenty plus people in a space smaller than most modern living rooms, it doesn't bother TheLegend or the GraciousPartier. She even thought to bring some schnapps for the hot chocolate, pointing out that skiers passing by would often stop and accept her offer of hot chocolate if it had a little schnapps in it.
GalwayGuy, the Rookie, and I headed up and got the fires going mid morning on Christmas Day. It takes awhile to get the place warm since all of the mass in the room, the furniture, tables, chairs, stove, walls, etc. needs to absorb heat and warm up along with the air. We also started a bonfire in the yard. Like our deer camp, people have to walk in, in this case about 200 yards, so most brought kiddie sleds to put the food and adult beverages on. Folks began drifting in and in short order a pot luck feast was laid out on the table and we could snack all afternoon. Some people favored the cozy warmth of the cabin, while most of the twenty-somethings and under staked out the bonfire in the yard. A few of us went for a ski or three and a bunch of other people snowshoed over to the old deer camp to check on improvements. It should be noted here that The Cabin is not to be referred to as a 'deer camp', even though there is a nice rack, a head mount, a skull with horns, and a turkey fan and beard on the wall. The boys do hunt out of there for most of the Minnesota bow and gun season, even though kippered snacks have reportedly been banned from the premises.
The trails were excellent, the weather sublime, and a number of folks skied by on the trail, most with large smiles on their face. We did get a couple of grimacing guys who blew through at high speed, likely training for some race, but most were just enjoying their Christmas ski and stopped to say hi. We also had an unexpected visit from the Piston Bully. The guys had put in their face time with the relatives and decided to groom the practice loops. They also decided to stop in for a couple of bumps to fortify themselves for grooming the rest of the trails.
I do look back with nostalgia at Christmas days past with relatives long gone, meeting friends after Christmas dinner, and having the family around. Both the VOR's boys made it back but neither of mine did this year. We had visited No1 son and MsKattorney the weekend before in Portland and 1stLtO was somewhere in the middle east and new bride MsE was back in Pipetsone, MN with her family. That being said, I don't know how it could have been a better Christmas from the VOR's and my perspective. I hope everyone out there in cyberspace had an equally outstanding Christmas.