Dad brought his saw, and all dutifully followed behind Mom while she assessed every single tree in the three-acre lot. After 30 minutes of throwing snowballs at Dad’s back and trudging through the knee-high snow, you’re secretly glad that Mom forced you to wear the stupid long underwear under your three sweaters and snow gear.
This meant squeezing into overall-style snow pants and pulling the bottoms down over your boots. Once you were at the top of the hill, you had to aim between the wide oak tree and the drop off to the fire pit, but if you made it straight down the middle, you’d shoot out onto the frozen lake.
Tire inner tubes, lunch trays, and Grandma’s silver platters were all good options.
And you would always beg an uncle to drag your sled behind the snowmobile.
Arriving in time for Christmas dinner was dependent on how much snow dumped from the sky and how many inches of black ice formed on the ground.
Frankenmuth’s over-the-top Christmas Wonderland is open year-round, but felt especially festive during the holidays. And where better to finish you holiday shopping than in Michigan’s very own little Bavarian village?
The matching one across the driveway was the neighbor kids’ fort, and way smaller and less intimidating than yours.
What am I looking at? A 5-foot inflatable snowman next to a palm tree? So tacky.
Aunts and uncles claiming the extra beds. Cousins scattered throughout the house. Grandma pulling extra blankets from the shelf in the closet. You’d volunteer to sleep in the bathtub.
It’s pot roast and peel ‘n eat shrimp for Thanksgiving, monkey bread and mimosas (chocolate milk for the kids) for Christmas morning, and after filling up at all of the Christmas day stops to visit various family members, it may just be hot dogs and mac and cheese for dinner.
Can Santa’s sleigh still fly in whiteout conditions? Do the reindeer need to see or do they some magnetic notion and just know where to go?
Somehow now the inflatable snowman doesn’t look so tacky in its rightful place, nestled between a light-up Santa and life-size nativity scene.