Monday, January 8, 2018

Christmas in Montana

The trouble with having a son who's a priest?  Christmas is his busy season.  Sadly he'll never be able to come home for the holidays.  The solution?  Visit him instead!

Sunny, but cold, Christmas Eve views

So on Christmas Eve eve (the 23rd of December if I've lost you) my hubby and I packed my trusty Subaru for the long drive to Montana.  Although I was worried about winter driving conditions in Montana, we found the worst roads were in Oregon.  Forty miles of black ice through the eastern Gorge.....not a lot of fun.

My snow-covered car on Christmas Day

But my hubby and I arrived safe and sound at my son's home that evening.  I thought the temps were a bit chilly, but was still surprised when I awoke the next morning to -6 degrees F!  Mighty cold for this wimpy Oregonian.  Still, it was a lovely sunny day, and the blue skies and white snow made for some magical scenery on a chilly walk around my son's neighborhood. 

A blanket of white on the streets

Christmas Eve my son was busy "working" - presiding at four masses throughout the day, so my hubby and I were left to fend for ourselves.  We ended up attending the 8 pm mass that evening in one of my son's outlying satellite parishes, a tiny old country church about 20 miles away.  It was a thrill to watch my son say Christmas Eve mass - still hard to believe it sometimes when I see him up on the altar, or preaching from the pulpit. 

Lovely red barn nearby

The crowd at this country church was mostly lots of families with kids.  Near the end of mass, a small group of young children came up front and sang three verses of "Away in a Manger."  Their  performance was so sweet, it brought tears to my eyes.  Upon conclusion of the service, everyone was invited outside for an excellent firework display to ring in the Christmas holiday.  We all stood in frigid 5 degree weather oohing and aahing over the colorful pyrotechnics.  (And quickly dispersed into warm cars immediately after it was over)  Only in Montana!

Snowflakes against the red

Christmas eve, the skies had been clear when we'd gone to bed at 10 pm (except for my poor son who still had to preside over midnight mass).  Imagine my surprise to awake Christmas morning and find six inches of fluffy powder on the ground! 

A very Christmassy scene!

It snowed hard all day.  My son, who didn't get home until after 2 am, was up bright and early for one final Christmas morning mass at 9:30. 

The snow is getting deep in the backyard

So again, my hubby and I were left to entertain ourselves.  My poor hubby fighting a bad cough, made worse by the cold outside air, was confined indoors.  But, itching to be out in the beautiful new snow, I donned coat and boots for a Christmas Day walk.

Snow on tree branches made interesting patterns

The snow was so light and fluffy!  It blew right off my car windows.  A few people had cleared their walks, but I delighted in plowing through the unshoveled snow.  It gathered in tree branches, adding a festive touch - Mother Nature's Christmas decorations.

Lone squirrel

Walking around my son's neighborhood, I came upon a beautiful old red barn.  Although out of place in this residential area, it looked mighty festive coated with winter white.

This statue has a snow cap

The snow continued to dump all day, finally accumulating to over a foot when night fell.  It made lots of pretty shapes as it piled up on the outdoor patio furniture and statues.  This little dog figure had quite the unusual hat!

Deer sleeping in the backyard

Deer were abundant where my son lives.  A large grove of trees bordered one side yard, and many deer took shelter under their large branches.

Another large buck in the neighbor's yard

After my morning walk, hubby and I entertained ourselves watching the wildlife traipse through my son's backyard.

My son's Christmas tree

Finally my son returned home, finished with his duties for the rest of the day.  After a late lunch, we gathered around the Christmas tree to open our gifts.

Colorful gifts under the tree

I always love to photograph the colorful wrapped boxes under the tree.  They were so pretty it was almost a shame to open them!

No fireplace to hang our stockings so we improvised

My son didn't have a fireplace, so I improvised and set the stockings next to his entertainment center.  Santa had no problem finding them.

My son relaxing after a busy holiday

Here's a very tired young man, happy to be done with his Christmas duties, and relax with his family.

My men unwrap their gifts

It was a cozy end to a wonderful couple of days.  As we finished unwrapping the last of our gifts, I was glad we'd made the long journey to Montana to spend Christmas with our son.


  1. O frio e a neve chegaram em força. Gostei de ver as fotografias.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

  2. ...great family time, looks like our Christmas!

  3. Hello, you did have a white Christmas. I am happy you were able to spend Christmas with your son. I love the barn and the snow covered statue. The deer are pretty too. Wonderful photos, enjoy your day and week ahead.

  4. What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.
    Your images are beautiful, your post fabulous!

  5. The Perfect Christmas, you had snow something I would love to see.

  6. Thank you for always nice information.
    Current Japan time is midnight.
    New Year's Day is a very important day for the Japanese people.
    In Japanese, New Year is called "oshougatsu", and the very first day of the year is called "gantan".
    People decorate their houses with special decorations.
    "Kadomatsu", two groups of bamboo to place in front of the entrance; "shimenawa", a sacred straw rope to protect the door; and "kagamimochi, round, piled up mochi (rice cakes) to appreciate and eat as a token of wellbeing.
    Families with young children often send New Year's Cards with a family photo or a picture of their children.

  7. I'd love to see a white Christmas some day! Beautiful!

  8. Hey, Christmas in Montana is almost like Christmas in Alberta. We didn't get a snowfall for Christmas but it was cold.

  9. Great photos of your stay in MT, Linda! Your son has your smile. I'm surprised you didn't take your touring skis. Happy 2018!

  10. I bet he was glad you made the trip! I wonder if you could take the train...but you would probably still have to drive a bit in Montana. Lovely photos I really like that red barn! :)

  11. Lovely snow images. Although busy and tired at least your son had his own family with him at Christmas to enjoy as well. Nowadays I buy my own presents (for myself) and never bother wrapping them up so it's nice to see the more traditional variety with tree and sparkling decorations.

  12. It looks like a wonderful holiday and a beautiful place to spend it. We've still had almost no snow at our house this winter!

  13. Glad you were able to get together for Christmas, and had snow!

  14. Goodness there was a lot of snow. So glad you made it there safely and had a nice visit with your son. That buck sure was a handsome fellow. Looks like you had a good Christmas.

  15. Wonderful way to spend Xmas, and snow as well! You must have been a proud mom watching your son "at work" :)

  16. What a great way to spend Christmas. Landing in the middle of a snowy landscape was truly icing on the cake! Love the red barn... what a great find!

  17. I'd have loved to have been walking around your son's neighbourhood with you. A very special Christmas for you.

  18. I'm glad you had a good time during our storm! You probably know there are some nice trails around Missoula, but probably kind of snowy when you were there. Let me know if you come up to the park this summer.

  19. A White Christmas! You lucky girl! :) Sounds like a lovely Christmas.

  20. Hi! Very interesting story! Sorry not to visit to your blog soon. My computer broke down for a few days. It's my pleasure that youe Subaru car arrived at your son's house safely. I hope your husband recover soon. Your son looks very satisfied with the job that he has done in Christmas.Thanks for sharing.

  21. A white Christmas that is for sure.
    Such a wonderful post to read and see. You photos are beautiful as always.

  22. Sounds very cold but you found magic in it. How nice to have a white Christmas with family!

  23. What a blessing to have a son whois a priest! I'm sure it does mean you will have to visit him most religious holidays, but Montana is a beautiful state. They were much colder than we were on the front range of Colorado -- we had very little snow onthe ground and warm temps in the 60's at Christmas. I actually had to open a window in my kitchen as muy hot oven made our kitchen too warm that day!


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