Christmas Wolf

I had a trip last week with Ruby’s Rainbow, and–not that you doubted or anything–but I thought you should know, being that it’s December, I take my holiday spirit duties pretty seriously. I bring my festive to the road. Like I make room in my carry-on bag for twinkle lights and reindeer socks, and heck yeah I pack Christmas plaid. There are four of us in one room, and I take the liberty to jingle the place up before we even choose our beds, dangling a long strand of twinkle lights across the headboard.

“Oh my God, you did not bring your own twinkle lights,” my friend Heather announces as I complete our hotel bed display.

“Like you’re surprised? Wait, there’s more.” I pull out a Mistletoe Fir travel candle and two pairs of Christmas socks I brought to give away. “Here, pick one. Wear them.”

No efforts are needed to ignite the cheer for the rest of the trip as the people we meet stir up every drop of good feeling I have inside (more on that next year), but I do strategically choose a festive shirt for my flight home–if you must know, a Christmas plaid long sleeve shirt with a subtle ruffle on the sleeves and neck so that, tucked in, it looks a little bit like a leotard. Basically, I am Kristi Yamaguchi in Christmas on Ice, and I’m proud of it. Also, I stop at Hudson News to pick up some magazines for the flight home and settle on three Christmas covers so that, judging by the stack of magazines I walk out with and my outfit, I am not in any way, shape or form nailing my life goal of “tone it down.” And then–yes, it gets better–I hear the lady on the loud speaker announce last call to board my flight. So I run. You know it, this is going to turn ugly. I gallop like Vixen trying to get that sleigh off the ground, and I am wearing heeled boots, ladies and gentlemen. Also–important not to forget: CHRISTMAS PLAID LEOTARD. I am *this close* to my gate, right in the main hallway, and it happens. I slip. And I go down hard. Kristi Yamaguchi bombs the double lutz, and the crowd is watching. The magazines go flying–Martha Stewart to the left, Good Housekeeping to the right, Women’s Day flung far in front of me. I am sprawled across the dirty airport floor in a fall that had to be epic entertainment for anyone who saw. My right knee is throbbing, my right elbow took one for the team, and my pride? Shattered. And while I am down there, staring at the tile, it hits me: “You are on the ground. You are awkwardly hugging the floor in a packed airport, in heeled boots, and you are wearing Christmas plaid.” There’s only one way to recover: Get up, and make eye contact with no one. So I get up, scooping my holiday magazines off the floor and pretending nothing hurts because somehow falls feel less embarrassing if no one gets hurt. It’s why we start mumbling, “I’m okay, I’m okay–ha ha–I’m fine” to people who attempt to assist, even if we’re bleeding out.

I make it to the jet way and, while digging for my ticket, I drop the neck pillow that was hooked around my purse because YES, I TRAVEL WITH A NECK PILLOW. The jig is up, guys. I am not a classy flier.

“Here, I got it,” I hear, and turn to see a nice-looking man behind me who hands me my clearance pilled-out neck pillow with tiny styrofoam balls falling out of a small hole.

“You’re having a heck of time there, aren’t you?” he says with a smirk. “I saw you wipe out.”

Jesus, just let me die.

Moral of the story? Jessica Klein wrote a whole thing about Poodles vs. Wolves. Grace Kelly was a poodle. Cate Blanchett is a poodle. Poodles are born poodles and exude grace and class wherever they go. But wolves? Wolves can never be poodles, no matter how bad they want to be or how hard they try. Spoiler alert: I am a wolf.

But I am a festive wolf, a happy wolf–a wolf who can at least shove some of my wolfness under the rug with a good smear of red lipstick and some well-hung twinkle lights. And yes, I said well hung.

On that note, here. I call this one “Wolf Holding Poodle.” Because little sister is as sure as hell a poodle as I’ve ever seen. She don’t need no lipstick.

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Like everyone else in the world, we’ve been very busy this month. We’re getting ready for our annual North Pole party this weekend and scurrying around (the good kind, not the stressful kind) with holiday tasks, but I always love to exhale some love and gratitude in this space for little moments we’ve been loving–things I want to remember.

Thanksgiving Day: I peeked into the girls room to see my kids crowded around Gary, playing with Barbies. I could overhear the rest of the family laughing in the kitchen, smell all good Thanksgiving-ish things and have had enough exposure to life’s heartache to grasp how special these moments are but not so much heartache to make them hurt. And I took a little snapshot in my mind and made note of how good it feels to be in this moment, right here, in life.

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Every time I make a pie, I text a picture to my mama and wait for her “that’s my girl!” reply.

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Heavy Lounging is our theme this month:

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And the Family Tree Lighting.

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We read Cynthia Rylant’s Christmas in the Country the other night, and I love how she described pulling out the ornaments to put on the tree: “Each ornament reminded me of my whole life.” As much as I tell myself that some year we will go all out on a color-themed tree with big beautiful bulbs and a coordinated display of ornaments, I know I will never part from our hodgepodge collection of family treasures. The reindeer with the broken foot, the ballerina that’s been glued together three times, the tiny cradle with “Baby’s First Christmas” rubbed off after ten years of little ornament handlers. Our whole lives and all our stories are collected on this tree, and we like the way they twinkle.

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Everything looks sweeter with a Christmas tree in view.

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But sleeping babies with Christmas trees? Cannot be topped.

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Finally, one of my favorite annual holiday traditions–The Nutcracker.

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We get all fancied up, have lunch at the Ritz (a wolf at the Ritz–imagine that!) and then head to the ballet. Lainey brought a friend this year, and the whole day was simply holiday heaven.

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Poodle, Wolf, Poodle, respectively.

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Nella loved having her own purse, filled with tissues and Chapstick and TicTacs…

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…but we did have to hear the rip of the velcro closure open–oh, only about 72 times throughout the performance. When the usher lady started turning her head every time the purse opened, I finally had to pull the loud whisper, “NELLA! Stop opening your purse!”

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Lainey took this picture, and I love it:

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Decembers are definitely my favorite.

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Is there a point to this post? No.

But if there was, it would be something like…Wolves may fall hard. But the Christmas wolves sparkle on. There. That’ll do.


Leave a Comment
  1. I absolutely love this🎄🎅from a Christmas wolf to another

  2. Terri Holt says:

    LOVELY! xoxo

  3. I love this! Merry Christmas to you & your beautiful family!

  4. Alexis Calabrese says:

    From one wolf to another, happy Christmas!

  5. Bare-bone Christmas here for us (compared to what I usually do) but bad never ending morning sick ness until the past two days is the reason why. But flat on my back in October I did 85% of my Christmas shopping (thank God for online shopping!!) and I finished up last night. The tree is up and lights outside. And that’s it. But I get to take my two boys and husband to Oklahoma to experience the kind of Christmas I had as a little girl the week before. So that is special. And next year I will go all out with a 4 year old a two year old and 7 month old. 😍 (And of course they have Christmas outfits and Jammie’s for the entire month – thank goodness for thrift stores!!)

  6. Owwwooooh!!!

  7. Thanks for the morning giggle … well actually full out laugh! … when the guy calls you out just when you think you may have recovered your dignity – bah ha ha ha ha!

    signed . . .
    Queen of her Wolf Pack 😉

  8. I love this post! I think I’ll pick myself up a snickerdoodle latte this morning to her in the holiday spirit myself. Oh, and I am 100% a wolf.

  9. Christine says:

    Beautiful! Where are the girls’ sequin dresses from?

  10. On election day, I was out going door to door for Hillary Clinton. I was looking for the next address on my list, and somehow I fell. I crashed really hard to the sidewalk and my clipboard went flying to the other side of the driveway–and my lit went everywhere. I knew that I was hurt, but I also knew that I had to finish–and so I got up and kept going. It makes me feel better to know that I am not the only one.

  11. Patricia Villamil says:

    I loved reading this one. I think I’m a hybrid. Is that even something?Kelly a few days ago you had in one of your stories a beautiful interactive baby book that you were flipping. I want to gift this one to my daughter’s friend. What is the name of that book?! Thank you. It’s so lovely to read your thoughts. And your taste is so impeccable.

  12. Patricia VillamilP says:

    And by stories, I really mean instagram stories.

  13. Hi Kelle – my family and I just started a new tradition this year. Check out Amazon for Oliver the Ornament by Todd Zimmermann. It is a book with an adorable ornament set. The book tells the story of the ornament and this one made me tear up, such a cute story! Each year a new book and ornament will be released. I love starting new traditions with my kids.

  14. Holy hilarious.
    Thank you.

  15. Thank you for being you ! Simply put, you make a difference xx

  16. Oh man….. I face-planted in my home last Monday morning. Walking through my house with no lights…. I was going to turn on my Christmas tree lights and I tripped on my toolbox that I had left out. My full cup of coffee went flying, and the coffee cup. I knew I was falling and there was nothing I could do about it, but say oh s***!! HA!! The thing that pi$$ed me off the most ~ it was my last coffee pod for my Keurig. I was sore for a few days. I hope your knee is okay.

    Adorable photos…. all of them. xo



  18. You are a riot. I love your Christmas spirit. I think you’re an elf in real life. Also, can you share what camera and lens you use? You are giving me the photography itch like crazy! What incredible and beautiful memories you are preserving! Love to you and your fam!

  19. Katherine Smith says:

    For you x :)

    If you stumble, make it part of the dance

  20. Thank you for a great laugh; but also for perspective. I am also a wolf, but I’m with you a string of twinkle lights can somehow make a lot of stress melt away. I love the holiday season (stress and all), thank you for sharing your stories and allowing me to reflect on all of my blessings.

  21. I understand the embarrassment all too well. I was running through the airport with hubs to catch a connecting flight. My rubber soled shoes caught on the carpet and down I went! A stranger helped me up as my hubs was way out ahead of me. The only saving grace was I knew I would never see those people again. 😂

  22. Kim Jackson says:

    So that explains it!! THANK YOU & high 5 fellow wolf!

  23. Shannon Brown says:

    Insert about 50 hysterical-laughing emojis here. (but not AT you, WITH you, Sister Wolf). Loved this!

  24. Love reading your blog! And the best picture ever – the one Lainey took of Nella! ❤️

  25. Angela Wright says:

    My Lainey is now 14 and if I could tell my younger mom self some advice I’d say don’t bring their friends. The years will come that bringing a friend is the draw to get them to attend something with you. But up until puberty soak in the joy that you are all they want. This time is short and be stingy to share them with their friends. It’ll hurt more when that transition happens but the memories of all those sacred traditions help. Many years to be the cool mom that includes the friends post 12.

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