by Joan Larsen
The years spent in our lovely decorated home waiting for Santa to make his magical, glorious appearance are long past. The close-knit family of our childhoods seem to have scattered in all directions now.
Changes in tradition never seem to be easy. But after more thought, more talk than you might believe, the dreams – imagined for years – were to become reality. Just for this one holiday season, Christmas and New Years in the beauty of the most gorgeous country in Europe – Switzerland, of course – became reality for us. No gifts were needed as we decided to give ourselves and our little family the greatest gift of all – a journey to the Alps.
Stunningly beautiful, leisurely with none of the normal pressures that come with holidays, we entered a dream world that will never be forgotten.
The first glimpse of our chalet with snow-covered mountains all around and we were all “goners”.
Once we stepped through the door, we wondered if we ever would want to do anything but sit in front of the fire, content to have our eyes wander to the scenery outside the windows. One glimpse and you will understand.
But, seeing the red-cheeked laughing families coming in from skiing – well, we knew we were not going to miss anything. . . and found ourselves out every day, walking the streets of the little town, hiking, or getting “the rush” of skiing down the mountain (and still remaining on our feet – well, most of the time!!).
Christmas Day was one of remembrance.
There were many heartfelt toasts of champagne as we talked about the past holidays of our married life – but with the most toasts to the happy feelings we were having on this day of days.
The table was simple but elegant. There was no rush . . . and I have a feeling we spent hours, talking and savoring as we seldom have an opportunity to do on special occasions. Our talk and thoughts are private . . . but so heart-filled.
You have to see a glimpse of the dessert – a Pavlova – that I have been making with less success since I had first savored it in New Zealand. A bit of heaven . . . all the way down!
The days and evenings sped by far too quickly. And then it was our last night – New Years Eve. Here it is not celebrated with hordes of people crowded together as it is in Chicago, but with the shadows of the mountain as background, as we stood on a road just outside the little town, watching splashes of fireworks that were – well – stunning — and oh so beautiful that I knew then that they could not be matched.
Midnight and the new year has come. With it, our own hopes, our own dreams for the years to come.
But the time cannot be more perfect than now to wish you and your family THE MERRIEST, LOVELIEST CHRISTMAS AND OUR HOPES FOR CLOSENESS OF FAMILY AND THE WARMTH OF LOVE IN THE YEAR TO COME.
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”