This year my holiday planning is going to be unlike any other in my 16-plus years living in Big Bear. That’s because, for the first time, I have family visiting from Texas during the holidays.

To be honest, my holiday planning never really goes overboard. As a single woman I don’t really decorate the house that much. I’m rarely there anyway. Christmas dinner is usually with a group of friends at someone else’s house. I just bring over my contribution to the pot luck along with a stack of gifts to hand out. That usually takes a day or two of planning at the most.

This year I began my holiday planning the minute my nephew and his daughter said they were going to visit.

Thank goodness for friends who can loan some things like Christmas deocrations and extra blankets and towels. I need more than my tiny Christmas tree sitting on the mantel.

That solved, the next part is food and drink. The grocery list is growing every day.

Christmas and birthday gift lists are being prepared, and shopping is on the agenda. Yes, I said birthday. Both have birthdays in December so this is a double celebration when they come to visit.

The easy part of the planning is that their visit must involve snow and the outdoors. Check that one. But here is the dilemma. They have their hearts set on taking either ski or snowboard lessons. It’s something they have never done before.

With my bad knees (including a fake one), I’m trying to convince them to do a little tubing instead. I think I’m going to lose that one though and will find myself on skis again for the first time in years.

I guess it’s good that I have this dilemma. At least that means Big Bear has snow on the ground. And that’s the main thing, no matter what we end up doing. Snow is the best birthday and Christmas gift I can give them. There are plenty of ways in Big Bear to enjoy the snow — skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing and building a snowman or two.

I’m sure we will do more than one of these things.

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