Advent is defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing or event; derivative of the Latin word for ‘coming’.  No matter what time of year, one is always experiencing the advent of something in the northwoods: the first call of the loon heralding spring, the surprise of the first orange leaf appearing in the hardwoods, or the arrival of the first snow.

Some say summer is the best time of year in the northwoods, but for me, the Christmas season is truly the icing on the cake.  As a resident, I consider this time of year my reward for toughing it out all twelve months.  I can understand escaping the cold at some point, but before January?  I will NEVER.  For me there is nothing like the ice-lit dam in Sensenbrenner Park or the hush of snow falling quietly on the pines to evoke the holiday spirit.  People don’t dream of a BROWN Christmas.

As far as the arrival of notable events, I’m looking forward to our small town Christmas celebration on Friday, December 14th down at Pipke Park.  There will be sleigh rides around the ponds and through the woods, a bonfire with s’mores, cookies and crafts in the warming hut; and thanks to the PI Lions, a new outdoor light over the skating ponds and sledding hill.

I know that for some the advent of the holidays can be stressful, or even downright painful.  One of the things I appreciate most about Christmas in the woods (or from Almost an Island) is that in many ways the magic of the season feels a little closer, and all of its hectic pressure feels just a bit more removed.  Maybe it’s the abundance of natural beauty or the nearness of family, friends, and community members coming together.  Quite possibly it’s also the considerable distance to the nearest shopping mall, and the commercialism it entails.  Whatever the reason, being in the Northwoods (or carrying it in your heart) offers the opportunity to experience the joy of the season, young or old.

At last night’s Economic Development meeting (while we tackled the advent of an upcoming Main Street re-design) a committee member’s young daughter worked diligently on her list to Santa while the adults met.  Is there anything quite like making a Christmas wish list when you are young?  Her untethered hope and excitement (and unapologetically extensive list) inspired me to get working on my own wish list, because Brown Santa (that’s Kenny the UPS man) only has so much time to deliver.  And let me tell you friends, I’ve been a SUPER good girl this year, so here goes…

10. Socks, socks, socks. The long ski kind, and the thick moisture-wicking ones you wear under boots, and the little ones you wear with dress shoes because it’s still too cold to wear dress shoes, and the fuzzy ones you wear at night.  We have a concrete slab foundation at the office and my tootsies never stay warm.

9. An Ancestry DNA kit. If Kelly Ripa is Italian, whose to say Bonnie Byrnes isn’t too?!

8. Plane ticket to Italy, or whatever it is that I hail from. (Who are we kidding, I’m probably off to Lillehammer).

7. An upgrade to my Sirius XM so I can listen to ALL holiday music, ALL the time.

6. A whole-family season ski pass to Indianhead Ski Resort. My parents brought us here when we were babies and then my brothers and I brought our babies, and I hope they all bring their babies, and well, you get the idea.  How lucky are we to have such great downhill skiing just 25 minutes north in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan?  Cripes, ya gotta love the family vibe, the friendly staff and awesome snow-belt conditions in dat der U.P., eh?  Oh, and Santa could you also open an account for me at their ski shop, HW Rider?  In addition to socks I also happen to collect ski hats.

5. Now that you mention it, despite the short distance it WOULD be nice to be able to spend an entire weekend at the ski hill, or maybe even spring break. My mom just listed this sweet hillside ski condo at Indianhead and I think it would be JUST the ticket to go with my tickets!  I promise to get you a return on your investment by enrolling it in Indianhead’s convenient rental program, and you’re welcome to use the pool and health center anytime you want to start working off that belly, Santa.

4. OK, since we’re talking real estate. I know I already live here in Presque Isle, on the prettiest little spot on Lynx Lake…and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful here…but I’d also really like a summer home.  There is a location I’m sort of in love with, a small 2 bedroom cabin on 13 acres on Van Vliet Lake, facing west overlooking Novak Island, with 300’ of nice firm frontage. Santa, the cabin isn’t fancy but there’s just something about the spot.  I think it’s the scent of the towering hemlocks swaying in the breeze, and the quiet location off of Crab Lake Rd, and I’d sure love having that access to the Presque Isle chain!  It keeps getting overlooked because it needs a little love, but I know with some TLC it could be perfect!  Maybe we could go halfsies??  The 13 acres won’t fit in my stocking but the deed will…

3. Ok, ok, back down to earth. Since it’s the season of giving, would you consider helping the Economic Development Committee and our efforts to start a community fishing pond?  We’ve already raised over half of the necessary funds and are excited at the thought of establishing a new community landmark!  On your way through town on Christmas Eve, please hit up the donation jars at the various local businesses.

2. Back to me. This blog (and work day) is nearing an end and it’s snowing buckets right now, and I was going to ask for one of those scrapers with the fur sleeves, but I think this whole debacle could better be handled with an automatic car starter.  Takk Skal du ha, Santa!

Van Vliet Lake

1. This is it, the gift I want to see under my tree above all others…please bring me four Nokian Hakkapelitta Snow Tires! The Giorgio Armani of snow tires, Nokian is an originally Finnish company that invented the first winter tire in 1934, providing for revolutionary grip and handling.  Nokian is currently building a factory in Datyon, TN (their first North American company) and I would be ever so grateful if you would outfit my ride with a fresh set of the Hakkapelitta’s this winter.  My Dear Santa, they sure would come in handy for this Northwoods girl, as I go to and fro, back and forth, over the rivers and through the woods on Almost an Island.