Last week, as I promised, I got my Christmas tree. Because a Christmas tree farmer set up a little lot in the city, we walked about a mile, picked out a small one and carried it home. I spent the evening stringing lights around every single branch in the very specific method that my mother used my whole childhood, and set my little tree up on the table in the second of our apartment’s two rooms. I plug it in when I wake up at 7:00 a.m. and I unplug it when I get back into bed at 11:00 p.m. I only have a few ornaments so the tree is a little bit of a disappointment, but I turn it on anyway because we have to take holiday cheer where we can get it this year.
The sad tree and the impending strangeness of not going home coupled with my clinical depression is taking a toll on me. I always assumed that the first year I didn’t go home for Christmas would be because I was doing something cool as hell like going to Thailand and eating from every street cart I could find until I exploded. Because I’m being pushed out of my holiday tradition by the terrible virus, I’ve taken to a kind of daydreaming that the me of normal times would barely recognize. Yes, instead of imagining going home for Christmas as I was just two weeks ago, I have now taken to imagining that I own the home that everyone wants to come to for Christmas. That my house is the magical Christmas house that is warm and cozy, a home everyone arrives at in their rental car from the terrible city and breathes a deep sigh of relief.
I have mentally transitioned from being the miserable Hallmark city girl desperate for love who is forced to return to her childhood small town into the Hallmark city girl’s mother. In my fantasies, I am no longer interested in having a crisis or discovering myself through the magic of the Christmas season. I am interested in the kind of luxury only rich people a generation older than me have: a magnificent home. It’s an opulent enclave of my own, a space big enough for everyone, where I sit at the center of the universe, a generous and beloved hostess who has a pot of hot chocolate on the stove and a little bottle of something to spike it with just in case.
This week, friends, I welcome you home. Pack your bag and hop in your small, city-friendly car. Bring your little romantic drama. I will have prepared us a wonderful dinner. You are coming to visit the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
I recommend you fly into Asheville and rent a car at the airport. My $1.5 million home is in Glenville, about an hour and half drive southwest of Asheville, nestled in the little crook of North Carolina close to the border with Georgia and South Carolina. This is the South, sweetie. Don’t drive too fast. It’s a twisty road so be careful on those turns. Our house is the big white one on the hill with the green roof. Pull right on up in the driveway. Just park anywhere, don’t worry about it.
I’ll meet you on the porch. It’s a big porch with plenty of seating and it wraps around one side of the house. Try to get here at sunset so you can join me to look out over the vast and sprawling mountains as you unload your luggage. Look how big the sky is, with those sweeping clouds and all that green. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we will even get some snow. The land? Yes, we’re on 37 acres. There’s a creek down past the apple orchard, and a large empty pasture where we’ve planted Christmas trees. In a decade they’ll be ready to harvest and stand in people’s homes. Isn’t that a delight? Let’s not go look at that now. It’s chilly out here, and don’t you want a tour?
Inside it smells like cinnamon and the air is crackling with warmth from the two fireplaces. Here is the first one in the dining room by the large 10 person table where we will eat the roast I have been salt brining for three days. If that’s not comfortable enough, here is the second fireplace in the living room. A hearth, you might say. Here let me take your coat, you warm up for a moment before we continue. Better?
Here is the kitchen. It is green because this is a Christmas fantasy. Even the dishwasher is green. Look at this giant farmhouse sink. It is spotless. Look over here is the other double sink and the second green dishwasher. Do you want to be on cleanup crew tomorrow or do you want to help cook? Okay great, I can use the extra hands in the morning. Here is the double oven. Luxurious, right? What’s more luxurious is that there are so many cabinets in here that I can use these little shelves to the right for my decorative porcelain chickens. Oh my goodness, you shouldn’t have! It’s perfect. I love this little golden chicken bowl. I’ll put it on the shelves too. I’m only crying because I’m so happy you’re here. I missed you. No, no. I’m fine! Do you want some hot chocolate from the stove? There are tiny marshmallows in that cabinet, sweetie.
Of course you can bring your mug, silly. Here is my bedroom. Let’s just swing through here quickly, it is a tour after all. There are beautiful wooden floors and also beautiful wooden shiplap. Well of course there’s mint green shiplap on the walls in the bathroom. This is the South, honey!
Anyway, look at this tub. Absolutely, you can take a bath in here. I insist. Look how it is actually deep enough for you to submerge your whole adult body! Don’t have those in the big city, do you? There are also two walk-in closets, but here is where we keep the extra towels on these bonus shelves between our two completely separate sinks and mirrors. Just let me know when you’re ready to take your soak! I’m sure you’re very tired from your traveling.
I’ll show you upstairs, now that I think about it. You probably need a minute to unwind and catch your breath. This is a very nice gesture that only happens in movies, but luckily this is a fantasy so here we go. The stairs creak because they are old and have character. Please be careful.
Our mutual friends will stay in this room with the frilly bed and fake flowers. Yes, the divorce did sound tough. Their flight doesn’t get in until the morning so they will miss our annual Christmas Eve Eve tradition, which is complicated, and because this is a fantasy will almost certainly NOT require us to play a game later which will reveal some kind of secret about you and your partner. Our friends will be here in time for the extravagant Christmas Eve feast, though. Don’t you worry. But for now, the whole upstairs is yours.
Here is your bathroom. This one is for the other guests. Both have locks that work so don’t worry about any surprises. And here is the room that will be yours, it has a four-post bed and wonderful natural light. All the linens have been changed and there’s even a nice little step stool here because I know your dog is getting in that bed with you. Stay up here as long as you need. We will be downstairs by the tree and the fire whenever you’re ready to join us. But really, absolutely no rush. Take a nap if you need. We have all the time in the world to spend together. This may be my fantasy but it’s your vacation after all. You should relax. I’m running to the store later and want to make sure we have enough coffee. I think I remember that you take oat milk is that right? They make milk out of everything now, don’t they? Remind me again how long you’re staying?
Of course you can stay forever! Stay as long as you want. The house description says there are 37 acres that “could accommodate a family compound,” so you really might as well stay. Happy holidays, hon. See you downstairs.
The North Carolina Holiday Dream Home has been listed on Zillow for 277 days. If you buy this magical home, you are required to invite me to all family holidays until my death. Thank you so much.