Vail Daily column: The goose is getting fat
You would think that we get the Christmas bug early, living here in the Valley. Vail’s lights are up well before Thanksgiving (maybe they never take them down, now that I think about it) and Santa comes to Beaver Creek the Friday after Turkey Day to help kick off the season. He and a few of his elves have even been known to parachute into Copper Mountain’s village at night, complete with twinkling beacons so that we can see them in the frozen sky.
And yet, Christmas has a way of sneaking up on me every year. What is it about this place? Maybe it’s because it gets dark really early, so in the evenings I just want to curl up on the couch rather than make Christmas cookies. Or maybe it’s just my annual denial that time marches on without a care as to how much I have to do to get ready for the holidays.
Today, as my cart bumped past couples and families stocking up for their ski vacations at the grocery store, it hit me. Christmas is fast approaching and I’d better get my jingle bell groove on.
It’s hard to miss our welcomed visitors in the grocery aisles. Their distinguishing characteristics include:
• A full family shopping together (this never happens in non-vacation life — think about it).
• Extended relations and/or friends trying to decide what kind of coffee to buy. (“I won’t drink Starbucks, it’s against everything I believe in,” as his friend looks at him with disgust. “Seriously?”)
• Carts full of everything necessary to make a pancake breakfast, including the spatula.
• Looks of complete defeat, accompanied by, “I cannot find the olives anywhere.”
• Mink coat-clad women pushing grocery carts down the cereal aisle.
Driving home from the store, I also realized it’s also time to start driving a little more defensively, particularly in those pesky round-abouts which befuddle our visitors. Generally, drivers who are new to this grand invention of traffic control either careen around them as fast as possible while their passengers assume the head covered tornado drill position (“Hang on!”), or they slowly creep around it a few times, hazard lights flashing, while other cars dodge in front and behind. I also find myself looking the other direction when backing out of parking spaces because the vacationers can’t seem to get the fact that it is a one-way lot. They happily drive past, going the wrong way in their rented Suburbans, Starbucks in one hand and iPhone in the other.
But I love having them here, even if I do have to adjust my shopping schedule and expectations for the availability of parking spaces. They bring the holiday spirit with them. They remind me that I get to live in a place where other people would rather be. They have counted down the months, weeks, days, hours and minutes until they could breathe our thin air.
So, as we duck to avoid the skis swinging toward our heads in the village, let us all be grateful for the reminder that the holidays are upon us and we are pretty fortunate to get to spend them in such a fabulous place. (And don’t forget to pick up some eggs and bread before the shelves are bare.) Cheers!
Sarah Kilgore lives in Edwards with her family. A version of this article first appeared in her blog, http://www.tiltingup.com.