It’s an interesting thing to travel during the Christmas season; something we’ve never done before.  And now with just over 2,500 miles and 10 nights on the road behind us, I’m finding myself in a bit of a reflective mood, thinking about where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

Traveling in the off-season and visiting places that would normally be annoyingly jam-packed with crowds is a real plus, and because of this I’m learning to enjoy winter travel.  What I find myself missing, by traveling in December, is the anticipation of the coming holiday.  Bundling up to walk through the neighborhood to look at houses adorned with colorful lights, baking my world-famous frosted sugar cookies while listening to Christmas carols all day long, and cuddling up for an afternoon or evening of watching A Christmas Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas, fills me with holiday cheer.  Walking into a decorated hotel lobby just isn’t doing it for me.  I’m not complaining, I’m just sayin.

It has nothing to do with winter, but what I do love about traveling is that it allows you to tune out.  I do not miss the in-your-face mass media telling me what a violent scary world it is.  Instead, we are finding good people all across the country.  From Maria the security guard at the Concordia Cemetery in El Palso, TX, to Gigi the super-friendly waitress in Texarkana and Morgan, the supervising hotel housekeeper who was genuinely concerned when I called looking for a possible lost tote bag – which we found – or the lovely woman who served us the best bbq ever and then patted my shoulder and wished us a Merry Christmas.  We’re told everyday how divided our country is and truth be told I believe in many ways we are, but there is nothing like travel to re-introduce you to the good in the world and that’s a a pretty awesome gift.

So while we’re on the road I’m looking for Christmas in other ways.  While in Little Rock, Arkansas, I took this photo of the Christmas tree in the Old State House, it was quite lovely and festive, and it made me smile.

The old state house in Little Rock, AR

The old state house in Little Rock, AR

I’m not baking cookies this year, but this wonderful box of goodness definitely added some Christmas cheer to our day(s)!

This box of goodness definitely added cheer to our day

Festive box of holiday goodness

And in Germantown, TN where I thought I had died and gone to bbq heaven, the holiday lights added the perfect touch to our meal.

Good food - good cheer at the Germantown Commissary

Good food and good cheer at the Germantown Commissary

Even though I’m not singing along to my favorite carols – why didn’t I bring our Christmas CDs – I’m finding that by looking for the cheer in other ways, it’s actually quite fun and in a matter of days I will get by far thee best Christmas gift ever – a big loving hug from two of my most favorite people in the entire world and what more could I ask for?  Um… Mega Million is up over $500 million, that would be nice.

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