Colorado Christmas

Two Feet on Colorado Soil

In lieu of a Photo of the Day, here is the Christmas post and photos as previously promised. This update is incredibly out of season due to my packed schedule over the past few months but better late than never. There is nothing like being home for the holidays, especially when home is in the snow-covered mountains of Colorado. Despite several plane ticket fiascos, I arrived safely and about 20 minutes early to Denver International Airport where I hugged my parents for the first time since October, a fantastic start to an amazing Christmas vacation. We spent a weekend visiting  and catching up with extended family before heading west toward the mountains and home in Glenwood Springs. During a lull in the excitement, my Dad and I went for a drive up Lookout Mountain in Golden to enjoy the views. We also visited Buffalo Bill’s grave which was a first for me despite having lived in Golden for four years while I was studying at Colorado School of Mines. 

Cookie Baking

Once back in Glenwood, after suitcases had been unpacked, we made quick work of checking off our favorite Christmas traditions and added a few new ones. As is the case every year, the baking and consumption of Christmas cookies was at the top of the list and was made all the more festive with the addition of homemade eggnog. Both the cookies and eggnog lasted throughout the holiday and were a happy after dinner treat.  

Jigsaw Joy

Christmas would not be complete without our traditional holiday puzzle. This year’s choice was particularly adventurous; a second hand illustration from JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit with a map of Middle Earth on the back. Although it was a steal in our local thrift store, it was also a bit of a gamble as we weren’t sure if it still contained all of the pieces. However, everyone chipped in and the puzzle was soon finished with all of its original pieces.

Local Lights

On Thanksgiving the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs performed it’s 30th annual lighting ceremony; a dazzling light show complete with fireworks and live music on the lawn. The entire town bundles up to congregate in the courtyard and the lobby of this historic landmark to witness the start of the Christmas season each year. I was unable to attend the lighting ceremony this year but we made up for it by conducting our own personal tour of the grounds to see the Hotel Colorado in all of its shining winter glory.

Spreading the Christmas Cheer

One new tradition which we look forward to continuing next year is bell ringing for the Salvation Army. My mom signed up the whole family for a time slot on the morning of Christmas Eve. This was a perfect way to solidify the Christmas spirit as we stood at the entrance of the grocery store, spreading good wishes and candy canes. Our efforts were rewarded with the friendly faces of old school friends and neighbors who stopped by to say hello and exchange Christmas greetings.

Winter Wonderland

One of my all time favorite things to do is to go hiking with my family and there was no shortage of this during Christmas vacation. Of course, being December in Colorado, this required additional footwear but was well worth the effort and extra gear. I’ve always loved snowshoeing in the mountains near Glenwood Springs but this year I found I had a redoubled appreciation for every powdered slope, every crystalline snowflake, and all the other things that aren’t the same anywhere else. It’s a miracle I didn’t walk into a tree during one of these outings as I spent the entire time pointing at the sky and telling my family to “just look at how blue it is!” Actually, just about every time we left the house I couldn’t help sounding like a broken record with phrases like “you don’t see that everyday,” while gesturing emphatically to the surrounding natural landmarks.  

Day at the Range

In light of my participation in a women’s shooting club in Valpo we were eager to hit the range over the holidays. My mom opted to stay cozy inside on this particular day. Although we chose an especially sunny day to go shooting, the range venue becomes much more relevant in mid December in Colorado. At this outdoor range, we spent time between shots hopping up and down and puffing out small clouds of steam with each chilly breath but, as with everything else over Christmas, it was worth it. We spent a couple hours plinking before we called it a day when our frozen fingers could bend no more.  

Homemade Pasta

In honor of our Italian heritage and the celebration of excellent food, pasta making has become an annual holiday activity. Every year we dig out the pasta maker and rack and spend an afternoon pressing and hanging fresh fettuccine noodles to be consumed at dinner that evening. Shrimp Alfredo was the delicacy on the menu this year, not for the dieting or faint of heart but, in my opinion, one of the best ways to eat pasta. 

Cowboy Monuments

As my amazing Colorado Christmas wound down my parents and I spent the final day of my vacation hiking near Colorado National Monument. We did a day hike to a rundown little cowboy cabin situated in the center of a fiery sandstone canyon. Here, the trail was mostly dry and clear of snow but a white dusting on the tips of the canyon walls made the colors all the more vibrant. The red rocks were in stark contrast with the clear azure sky. I was so distracted by the scenery and took so many photos that my camera died long before we ever reached the cabin which still proclaimed the Christmas season with a wreath on it’s single weathered door. 

Nothing but Blue Skies

My flight out of Grand Junction, Colorado was scheduled in the wee hours of a Saturday morning but happily was delayed. By the time we were in the air, the Sun had washed over the Colorado rocky mountains and bathed them in the warm light of a clear winter day. I spent half the flight with my nose pressed against the window, watching the uneven terrain pass thousands of feet below as we sailed through the deep blue sky. It was the perfect Colorado send off and I can’t wait for my next visit. 


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