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Home for the Holidays…Not

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyCharlie Owen is a contributing colunmist for www.vaildaily.com
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“Home is where the heart is.” I have never known to whom to attribute this quote, although I’ve heard it pretty much all of my life.

Whoever said it first probably found themselves in a similar situation that many ” valleyites” find themselves in during the holiday season.

Because most jobs in Vail and the surrounding towns rely on seasonal help and make most of their revenue during just a few months of the year, it is pretty much understood that if you work for one of these business that you are now locked in until the season is over. That means no vacations and no trips back home for the holidays. In other words, the only thing Santa is stuffing your stocking with is over-time.



It has been four years now since I have sat down to turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving or opened presents on Christmas with my family. That is not to say that I don’t see my family during the off-season, but there is just something about the holidays that make absent family members that much more prominent in our thoughts. Christmas and kin are almost synonymous with each other. But that is the price you pay for living in a ski Mecca and nobody is holding a gun to my head, believe me. Ninety percent of the time the trade-off is worth it but for those couple of months crammed with festivities and reminders of yuletides past, it becomes just a little bit harder to deal with distant relations.

Not having mom to cook the usual feast I am used to has forced me to be creative and come up with some alternatives to the usual pampering that I receive during the holidays. It helps if you know your way around the kitchen, but cooking your own Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners can actually be fun. And if you live with roommates, it cuts down on expenses and adds to the fun.



Last year I made my first Christmas meat loaf and it didn’t turn out half bad. And if everybody pitches in and uses their imagination your meals can be a lot more creative and “interesting” than anything you could ever have at home.

As a reflection of the generosity of some in the valley, Darla and the Turntable crew in Minturn host their annual Thanksgiving buffet on Thursday at 4 p.m. I went last year and it was a much better time than sitting around the apartment dreaming about mom’s mashed potatoes and glazed yams. It’s the closest thing to the real thing I’ve had around here yet. By the way, they take donations but are not mandatory, they just want you come out and enjoy yourself and some good company.

If you are one of those fortunate enough to get out of town and spend time with your families this holiday I hope you have a great time and that you remember that family is one of the greatest gifts we could ever receive. If you can’t get away and have to work or just can’t afford that plane ticket I hope you have close friends to share your holidays with, and maybe even some family here in the valley.



For now I’ll just have to settle for phone calls and memories, but then my family can’t go snowboarding on Christmas and New Years day in Indiana, in fact they probably won’t even have a white Christmas, but that doesn’t mean anything to them. That’s why they are there and I am here. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.

Many things won’t change for me. I’ll still watch football on Thanksgiving, I will still exchange gifts and stuff my face on Christmas, and I will still count down to midnight on New Years’ Eve, as I have done every year since I was first introduced to these traditions. I will make the most of the holidays and those close to me in the valley, always keeping my family in the back of my mind, comforted by the knowledge that I am in the back of theirs. Happy holidays to everyone, especially those that are experiencing them away from home and family for the first time. And if your planning on being around for a while, trust me it does get easier.

Remember: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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