You drop your bag at the foot of the twin bed in what used to be your childhood bedroom. But the Metallica, Weezer, and No Doubt posters have long been ripped off the walls and replaced by a new coat of paint. Your mother’s Christmas knickknacks are all over the house and your father can’t stop playing Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin holiday records. Hot apple cider is bubbling in the percolator, TBS is repeating A Christmas Story on a weeklong 24-hour loop, and you are rehearsing your answer to the standard issue, 12-million times repeated by extended family members question: “So, how’s things?”
Yep, you’re back home for Christmas while, according to Instagram, everyone out west is skiing eyeball-deep blower pow. Your skier heart is pa rum pum pum bummed out. But I say to hell with that.
I just returned home, leaving the pristine and long-anticipated skiing conditions of Colorado for the frozen flatness of Chicago. This may come as a surprise but there’s not a lot of skiing to be had on Michigan Avenue or Lake Shore Drive. I knew before I left the stormy Roaring Fork Valley that I would be exchanging the personal glory of frigid face shots for the shared hilarity of my incredibly loud and lovable Midwest Irish family. During the drive back I told myself to push pause on my skiing desires, retire from Social Media perusing for a bit, and commit to the moment, enjoy what was happening rather than pining over my skiing have nots. It’s been fun but it hasn’t been easy.
On Day One I lit the tree with my father while my mother gave her artistic guidance from the living room and classic carol crooners spun on the record player. With hands that smelled like pin needle sap, we clinked glasses and toasted a job well done before sharing laughs about Christmases past. I went upstairs to retrieve my phone, which was purposefully placed in time out, and “checked in.” Just a quick look for any new texts or emails, I thought. It went something like this:
Oh, nothing new, hmmm. Okay, well, I’ll just jump on Facebook quickly and see what’s hap…ooooooh, jeebus! Great, Trump has given the nod to another jackhole who…this political tilt-a-whirl is nauseating. Instagram, I’ll try Instagram. Ugh, Aspen and Telluride got big storms. Jackson Hole, the deepest December ever, huh? Alta is double overhead. And every pro who’s ever been pro is in all these spots being awesomely pro. Awesome, awwweeeesoooome.
I flipped my phone across the room and on to my bed. I was pissed, and then I was pissed that I was pissed.
F-word you, Social Media! Yeah, I said it. Stop making me feel bad. I shouldn’t have FOMO while I’m hanging with my family and friends for Christmas. It’s called adulting. And yes, sometimes it hurts my ski bum heart but it’s what adults do. I’ve had years of snow-filled turkey sammich Thanksgivings and mountain town Christmas get-togethers that were sadder than the plot to a Hallmark Channel movie. The skiing was great, it was all-time, but it didn’t really feel like the holidays.
I’ve only been home for a handful of days now but my brother and I saw the new Star Wars flick in a movie theater that must have been sponsored by La-Z-Boy, I’ve giggled with my nephews and high-fived with my nieces, talked music and mountains with my aunt, cursed the mediocrity of the Bears with my father, made cranberry bread with my mother, had deep conversations over coffee…you get the picture. So take that, you model-pretty pro skiers, with your holiday heli trips and untracked glory runs. While you’re skiing smile-deep pow these next two weeks I’ll be practicing armpit farts with my nephew Charlie and stuffing my face with ham and Grandma’s mashed taters. Enjoy your frozen beef jerky and lonely mistletoe.
This holiday season, if you return to the flatlands like me, soak in those precious magical moments with your friends and family. Stop the thumb scrolling and put the phone down. Look around you. Yeah, it’s not the mountains but it is pretty damn special. And when you get back to the ski town you call home, ski your ass off…and get the shot, because IG or it didn’t happen, bro. Now, go get a mug of nog and sing Jingle Bells with your fam. Skiing pow is great, sure, but Social Media never knit anyone a sweater for Christmas.