Tag Archives: Christmas

SoCal Christmas: Palm Springs

Last year I blogged that I was afraid we’d never again celebrate Christmas in our house on Christmas day. That post caused Alex’s mom, Lisa, to call me and we had a nice chat about how to share Andrew and Alex for Christmas. We speculated that there would probably be a time when Andrew and Alex would want to spend Christmas at their own place. We also joked that maybe the parents (John, Lisa, Dean and I) would go to a warm beach somewhere.

That happened… Sort of. Since Dean and I spent Christmas with Andrew and Alex in Atlanta last year, we decided to spend this Christmas with Clare — but not in chilly Olympia. Somewhere warm, we thought. We decided on San Diego because we heard the weather was perfect much of the year. Then I read a book that mostly took place in Palm Springs and thought it seemed like a fun, quirky town, so suggested that to Clare. She liked the idea, especially since it was close to both Joshua Tree National Park and the Salton Sea, places she was interested in visiting.

When Andrew and Alex heard our plans they hinted they might like to go too. Then Alex’s folks and brother thought it might be fun. So, on December 22, the eight of us converged in Palm Springs.

Our Airbnb was nice. Not in Palm Springs proper, but about a half hour north, in Desert Hot Springs. The house (marked with a red star in the image below) was half a block from several mountain trails.

map of the area where our Airbnb was located

The Airbnb had a pool and connected hot tub. The view from the nearby cabana was spectacular.

Palm Springs was fun. We took a long hike at Tahquitz Canyon, paid our respects to Marilyn, and walked around downtown.

Christmas Eve was spent exploring Joshua Tree and visiting Pioneer town where we found a lively bar that was built by Gene Autrey and Roy Rogers! After that we relaxed in the hot tub at our Airbnb.

Christmas Day was spent preparing a festive dinner, and of course hanging out in the hot tub.

Lisa, Alex’s mom, made her traditional wassail, Eric, Alex’s brother, made two delicious pies. Andrew and Alex played Santa and filled our [clean] socks with fun treats after making a vegetarian lasagna — the centerpiece of our dinner.

[Not] Home for the Holidays

It occurred to me after we returned from our almost spur-of-the-moment trip to Atlanta for Christmas (which was a lot of fun) that we may never again host Christmas/Christmas Eve in our house. It’s pretty clear that Clare won’t be returning for the holidays ever again and Andrew’s fiancé’s folks are quite invested in Christmas, so Andrew and Alex probably won’t be spending the holidays here ever again.

When I made that realization, I was really bummed. I felt sad and a little hurt. After all, we travelled to Illinois every Christmas for at least two decades even though I would have liked to create some Christmas traditions here in Bethesda with our kids.

After thinking about it though, I realized that we did make traditions in our home. It might not be on Christmas day or Christmas Eve (in fact that was a tradition in itself — having our personal Christmas after Christmas) but we still hung stockings on our mantlepiece and unwrapped presents in the morning of the day we designated our “Christmas”.

I don’t know what the future holds for subsequent Christmases — travel probably. Maybe we will go see Clare sometimes. Maybe Dean, Clare and I will rent a house somewhere warm for a Christmas someday. Maybe if A&A have children we’ll all gather wherever they are.