The holidays this year were a great unknown. It was our first winter living aboard the boat. We'd always been in a condo or a house to this point. We had no clue what to expect. Here's what we got:
The lighted dinghy parade. Liveaboards throughout the marina (and this is a BIG marina with lots of people living aboard their boats) gather, deck out their dinghies and then parade through the marina, up and down all the water ways, blasting Christmas carols, waving and hollaring up to the rest of us who aren't in the parade about 'where's your dinghy?' First: no motor. Not rowing the entire marina. Second: no battery in our dinghy - see the first excuse - we'd have no lights or visible decorations without those things. Third: I'd have had to inflate the silly thing to make it sea worthy again. That's gonna have to wait for spring.
Boaters throughout the marina, regardless of liveaboard status (though mostly the liveaboards do this) light up their big boats, too. Here's a selection of Christmas Eve photos when we went walking the docks to look at lights.
One overachiever wired a lighted Christmas tree to the top of his mast - that's the bright blob. I liked the lighted circles someone else has run up their rigging. Nice effect.
This one ran his lights along his rigging and spreaders so the lights formed Christmas trees. That's a prelit star at the top of the mast.
And this is our boat with LED snowflakes around the lifelines and red LEDs going up the backstay. The blue LEDs are a boat across from us. It's been festive - especially since darkness gathers at around 4pm in our area. Lots of hours to look at the pretty lights. Naturally, now that the season is over and I contemplate taking down the lights, I find the box insert for the snowflake lights. "Indoor Use Only" it says. Uhm. Oops. I do not want to celebrate by being a short, horrifying reel of cautionary footage on the evening news. Perhaps I'll unplug those very, very carefully before I take them down. Wonder if those lights have anything to do with why the electricians came around today load testing all of the power sockets on the dock...
What's the saying? It's not a celebration until someone blows something up?
Needless to say, all of this holiday lighting (let's make the marina visible from SPACE!) is compensation for our lack of traditional decorating options. Few of us can swing the space for trees - with the exception of the guy wiring one to his mast...A few people wired trees up on their foredecks, but a tree out in the marine environment which means seagull poop and otters doing obscene things to tree branches? I'll pass.
We made up for it with food. Each week in December, we picked a holiday favorite and made it. Crab dip. White chocolate, Clementine and Croissant french toast, Cherry Ring for Solstice and cinnamon rolls on Christmas Day. We spread out the holiday. Had to do that - I have a two burner stove and an oven the size of a bread box. For holiday baking, my mother and I scheduled a bake-a-thon weekend at her house. Between us, we went through 10lbs of sugar and way too much butter and flour. It was fun. It was contained to a single weekend and then, we were done. Worked beautifully. So how does one decorate a boat for the holidays where there's limited power and space?
We strung Christmas cards along the bulkhead and hung our stockings from the hatch handles. Naturally, no holiday is complete without a geek setting up his World of Warcraft characters for their holiday presents in game. It was fun. All of it. Even the wind storm that blew in Christmas morning just as we were washing up breakfast dishes. We were able to catch a ferry across to go visit my family and have Christmas dinner on dry land. Everyone was tired, but happy. And ultimately, that's what counts.