I might be a California girl—born there, and lived there for the first 38+ years of my life, but it doesn’t mean I don’t associate the Christmas season with snow. The proverbial White Christmas—or even better yet, the Normal Rockwell Christmas in small town America, that was my dream.
We didn’t get much (or any) snow growing up in sunny Covina California. Even less when we moved out to sunny Lake Havasu (on the California side.) Yet it didn’t stop me from longing for that Norman Rockwell White Christmas.
I obtained the dream was when my husband Don and our two young children moved to the mountain village of Wrightwood California, in 1982. I suspect part of allure in moving there was that Wrightwood is the type of small community depicted by Normal Rockwell.
In Wrightwood, there was the village tree lighting, the annual shop at home event, and let’s not forget the annual Christmas parade, which, by the way, one year I helped the Wrightwood Nursery School win first place, when I decorated my dad’s truck as Santa’s workshop, and the nursery school students rode on the float dressed as elves and toys. It was darn cute.
We dreamt of a white Christmas—and actually got it. It was just like one of those cheesy Christmas movies. That was, until reality set in.
The first reality: snow on Christmas Eve might prevent some family from coming for Christmas dinner—those who lived off the mountain, like in Claremont, West Covina or El Monte. Instead of snow being a Christmas draw, it kept some family members away.
The second reality: the family members who did make it—those in the older generation—had a hard time breathing on the mountain—at six thousand feet elevation. Stressing that my sister’s father-in-law might be having a heart attack brought on by the elevation is a real ho hum at Christmas.
So this Christmas, we’re staying home in Havasu—no snow. I hear it is going to be nippy due to expected winds, which is a bit of a bummer, considering Don and I love sitting out by the fire pit in the evening. Yet, it shouldn’t prevent our family from arriving—which is really what Christmas is all about.
This year will be having our own style Normal Rockwell Desert Christmas, with my 89-year-old mother, our visiting daughter and her hubby, along with our two young grandchildren. If we want a white Christmas, we’ll turn on an old Christmas movie.