Magazine article Sunset

Holiday Spirit

Magazine article Sunset

Holiday Spirit

Article excerpt

ten years AGO, my husband and I spent Christmas Day with friends on the beach in Mendocino. We packed blankets and bundled ourselves in layers and spent the entire afternoon going on long, spectacular walks along the sand. Instead of a turkey dinner, we had picnic sandwiches; and in place of presents, we passed around a bottle of good whiskey and told story after story until our bellies ached from laughing. Later that evening, as we were sitting on the deck of our friends' off-the-grid cabin in the hills above Ukiah, a herd of wild horses wandered out of the fog to graze on fallen apples in the orchard.

Holidays in the West have an uncommon magic-one that I'm doing my best to evoke for my own young children during our first Christmas in our new home. Rituals take on a special resonance when you're reinventing them in a fresh setting. This issue celebrates those tweaks on tradition-whether it's a visit to a tree farm (page 62), a bourbon- and coffee-rubbed roast (page 70), or a garden structure decked in Spanish moss (page 46). …

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