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Recently, on an episode of Higher Learning, we discussed Christmas and how the experience feels so much different now than when we were growing up. I remember talking to my co-host, Van, and saying that the difference is children. It is seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child. It is about the wonderment, the excitement, the innocence, and the magic.
I was fortunate to have an early Christmas celebration with my family and my sister’s family this past week. The icing on the cake was Bryan’s family was there too; so, this was the first blended Abasolo-Cherones-Lindsay Family Christmas. The week was immaculate. We all flew into Knoxville, Tennessee where we met in the McGhee Tyson Airport. It was a scene straight out of Home Alone as we were moving through the airport rushing to get our bags, trying to get to the car rental area, and keeping count of all family members. Adding to all the chaos was the excitement of seeing loved ones for the first time in months! We were hugging, laughing, capturing pictures, chasing kids, and sharing stories. I was just trying to soak in every single moment.
Once we secured our cars, we headed out to Sevierville, Tennessee to begin our Christmas Family Vacation. But once on the road, we realized we needed to eat. The moment I saw a Cracker Barrel I made up my mind that was the place for us to dine. It was a decision no one regretted. Now full on family, life, and food we made our way up through the Great Smoky Mountains. I will admit the ride up the mountain was scary as we drove up and down a narrow road with no barriers to get to the top of the mountain. Once we arrived, on prayers and tears, it was worth the treacherous journey. The views, the stillness, and the landscape was captivating. We arrived to Summit 86…six bedrooms, six bathrooms, indoor/outdoor pools, home theatre, golf stimulator, pool table, ping pong table, and views to watch the sunrise/sunset over the mountains. Basically, our version of camping.
As wonderful as the house and location were, the unity, time, and love with family was by far the best part. The first night we had a family farm-to-table catered dinner curated by Savory Solutions Personal Chefs & Catering. The chef Jeremy prepared a delicious five course meal and then serenaded us with a personal performance. Basically, get you a chef that can do both. We all danced as he sang us a few songs. It was a surprise ending and a perfect way to end the night. During the rest of the week, we went tubing, road rollercoasters, went sightseeing, played games, and explored Dollywood. During our down time at the house, we talked, drank wine, and bonded. Perhaps one of my most favorite things I did was spend time with my seven- and four-year-old nephews. We played hide and seek, fought with action figures and superheroes, discovered secret doors, located “Frosty” the Elf on the Shelf every morning, painted, and partook in the game I created called “Let’s get crazy, let’s get wild” ...where we ran around the place, messed things up, and threw things around.
For five days, I lived in their imagination, and it was magical. And this is the joy and spirit that is so infectious especially around Christmas time that we miss and forget about as adults. Their innocence was therapeutic for me and revitalized my holiday cheer. I am so grateful for this time and blessed to be surrounded by new and old family. In the words of my mother-in-law, Olga, it was a once in a lifetime experience. We made memories that will last forever.
Check out my latest Instagram reel for more highlights from the trip! @therachlindsay
xoxo Honestly Rach