Winter vs Christmas

living room

I’m always a little sad the day that I take down my Christmas decorations and this year was no different. The tree, garlands, and wreaths had been deconstructed and our tree had been planted (we buy a bulb tree with the roots in tact so that we can add it into our one day wooded land). When I was finished putting it all away, it felt stark and without personality.

I remember thinking about when we lived in Vail, Colorado and the cozy feeling of Christmas would stay with us throughout the winter.  Snow stuck around until May and with it stayed the twinkling lights and lush greenery.  I got to thinking about winter decorations vs Christmas decorations.  What is it that keeps us feeling cozy and wintry and keeps spirits bright and warm throughout the coldest months of January and February?

chunky knits

front door

A quick scan of Pinterest showcased some of my favorite winter looks.  Lots of white, twinkling candlelight, natural branches, antlers, and sheepskins.  In my house I began pulling out the sheepskins and draping them on furniture. I put lights under a cloche instead of on a tree.  I removed the tartan ribbon from by boxwood wreath only to replace it with an oat colored one. A feeling began to come together that was decisively non-hoiday, but was still warm and sung. I honestly don’t even think that having a couple of small evergreens flanking the door would be off base.

There was something about living it the mountains that made all that woodsy decor totally ok during the non-holiday months.  I miss that mountain feeling and throughout this week will still make some changes to implement it in my house.

I told you in a previous post about my love for boozy hot chocolate that one day I would tell the story of Matt and My adventure moving to the great west. Today seems like a perfect opportunity because each year the post-holiday time period has me totally missing the mountain life. 

Matt and I graduated from college in 2005 which I absolutely cannot believe is going to be a decade ago this year.  Regardless, we had actually met in High School, but kind of danced around the whole idea of dating each other for the entirety of our college careers and never really gave it a go until spring of our senior year in college.


We had gone to college in separate cities about 5 hours apart, so it was a new experience when we both moved back home after school to take jobs.  Even with the newness of each other, the life we’d left behind in our hometowns still seemed dull.  We were both living at home and longed for independence and the ability to really know each other as adults.

We got a puppy (this should make us a legit adult couple right?), but still after just six months into our post college lives and our relationship, we were restless.  We decided to move in together… across the country. It was Matt’s idea to move, really.  He is an avid skier and sought the adventure of the west.  He hadn’t found a permanent job after graduation, but from Columbus, had managed to secure a position in Vail.  I was pretty underwhelmed with my job as a food chemist and decided to join him regardless of the fact that I had never skied a day in my life.  Matt jokingly said that if I didn’t at least try to ski, there probably wouldn’t be a future for us (in hindsight I’m not sure how much he was joking!).

We found an apartment online and signed a lease before ever telling our parents.  Neither of them would be ecstatic to see us living together before marriage, but we were more keen on the idea of adventure than the idea of pleasing them. The day we packed the car up and moved was the day our parents met (awkward!).  We were so packed in that at the very last minute I had only the space on my lap left and had room for just one thing, my wine glasses, or the puppy.  Of course, Perry won.

We took turns driving 26 hours across the country, reading Harry Potter to each other out loud. When we got there, we tromped through 3 feet of snow to move our few pieces of furniture and other belongs into the 500 sq ft basement studio apartment.  The only things we set up that first night were our air mattress and the printer so that I could print my resume and find myself a job.

The months and year that followed were some of our fondest memories.  I learned to ski, first from an instructor and then from Matt.  There were many teary moments on the mountain, but I ended up becoming a pretty competent skier. We had fun, albeit low paying jobs, met lifelong friends, and spent the only money we made on beer and steaks to cook on the top of the mountain. We learned to live together in a space where the only place to have a moment to yourself meant going into the bathroom. We’d fight over chores and cleanliness and who had to take the dog out in negative twenty degree weather. We established responsibilities and boundaries that we still have to this day.  It was there that learned how to be a team.

I’ll always think back on that year as one of the best in my life.  I took with me much more than a love for the snow and for winter mountain style, but also a love for the man who is now my husband and the very foundation of the life we live to this day.



photos:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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