In Focus by Caitie Ihrig

Since I was little, snow falling from the sky signaled that it was getting closer to Christmas. The Christmas music would start playing and decorations would start popping up all over town.

Growing up in Rochester, New York, every year was a white Christmas. Since moving out to New Mexico three years ago, I’ve begun to wish that I didn’t take those white Christmas’ for granted.

My first year in New Mexico, I went to Colorado for Christmas and there was a ton of snow. My family and I went to Garden of the Gods the next day, which had significantly less snow.

Last year, I was in Disney World with my family. There definitely wasn’t any snow in Florida, but there was snow in Las Vegas, New Mexico, before and after my trip.

This year is my first year spending Christmas in New Mexico. To me, it still feels like the fall. It’s been above 40 degrees almost every day, which is considered warm in Rochester. From October to March, back home, it’s considered lucky to have the temperature higher than 40 degrees this time of year.

As I write this, it’s 10 days until Christmas. There’s decorating to be done and cookies to be made. While all the shopping is done and the majority of presents are wrapped and I’m counting down the days until my favorite holiday, it doesn’t feel like that time of year.

Living in Rochester for the majority of my life, there’s something special about snow during the holiday season. Winter has always been my favorite season and snow is one of my favorite things.

I hate shoveling all the snow off my car and when the snow leaks into my shoes. But those are only minor things. Multiple times a year, my brother, Tyler, would dump snow down my back, but then we would go inside and make hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream.

There were times where Tyler and I got locked outside until the deck was completely shoveled. I always came inside absolutely freezing with snow dripping down my back and in my hood. He would also pick me up and throw me into a huge pile of snow as my parents laughed.

The four of us would also go outside and have snowball fights. Tyler and Dad normally won as Mom and I have terrible aim.

I would go ice skating every year and for a few years, Dad, Tyler and I went skiing. There was a lot of sledding during the winter months, especially on snow days which meant there was a few feet of snow on the ground and the temperature was below 15 degrees.

Since being in New Mexico, I’ve still gone ice skating every year. I even have my skates here, but unlike Rochester, there are only a few ice skating rinks in all of New Mexico.

There were a few rinks just in my town, but there was one that I always went to with my friends. Just about every town in New York has a rink in it and most people own ice skates.

I haven’t touched my skates since February, as all the rinks closed down a month later. This is the first year that I haven’t gone skating in December. So many things have changed this year. It snowed once while I was still in Las Vegas and it snowed in Socorro a few weeks ago, but nothing stuck to the ground.

My coworkers were teasing me for how excited I was that snow was falling.

As I look at the calendar, and the weather, I think about how much I still have to do in 10 days. Presents need to be mailed to my family back home and to my grandparents in Florida. There are cookies to be made and lots of dough and frosting to eat.

While I know it’s a long shot, I’m really hoping for a Christmas miracle that I will wake up on Christmas morning to snow in Socorro.

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