Christmas in Montana

It seems strange to still be talking about Christmas a month and a half after the event, but this is what happens when we get so behind on our blog!

Christmas time is a time to get together with family, and luckily despite technically being on the road, it was still possible for us.

The real reason we were in America in the first place was that my dad and his wife live in Montana, and we had always planned to spend Christmas with them. He decided about 3 years ago to move over there, and now he’s a resident.

It was mostly a time to see family and relax and for the most part that’s exactly what we did.

We were staying in a small town called Laurel, near to Billings, the largest city in Montana. It’s the sort of place you would be unlikely to visit as a tourist, even though it’s surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

Usually what we would have done was visit Yellowstone but mid winter would not have been a great time to visit as most of the facilties and roads are closed.

While we were there though we did visit Red Lodge, a tourist hotspot for skiers and snowboarders.

Although we didn’t do any of that we did walk around the small historic part of town, stopping for lunch of Elk burger and of course stopping by the sweet shop candy store.

Cool memorabilia in the candy store

Cool memorabilia in the candy store

Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see the Red Lodge animal sanctuary as it was closed on the day we traveled that way. We did however get to see a herd of deer on our way back, and a few beautiful spots where my dad fishes during the summer.

Deers

MontanaFrozenLake

We also visited Billings for shopping before Christmas, and had a night out of drinks at some local bars, and snacks at a place called Jakes, which was yum.

One of the most interesting stores we visited was Scheels – a gigantic hunting and sporting goods store. It’s clear how important hunting is in Montana,with the various stuffed animals and rack after rack of guns and crossbows.

Terrifying.

Terrifying.

Most of our time was spent with my dad, watching films inside hiding from the -10 or so degrees that it was outside. It started snowing on Christmas Eve and continued for the next few days, giving us a truly white Christmas. Don’t worry I couldn’t not go outside and throw a few snowballs at Greg.

Doing some hard labour

Doing some hard labour

For Christmas Eve we visited more family, their tradition was to have a big celebration and open most presents that evening – Christmas Day is saved solely for Santa presents.

We also enjoyed a tasty buffet and plenty of drinks and didn’t make it to bed until 2am Christmas Day!

Unfortunately our plan to leave on the 30th for Mexico City didn’t happen due to canceled flights out of Denver due to weather, which left us very unhappy and annoyed. After much deliberation about what to do, we managed to move our flight to the next available date, the 2nd of January.

MontanaSnow2

This wasn’t entirely bad news, at least we had a place to stay and I could see my dad for longer!

New Year’s Eve wasn’t the big party like we had planned for Mexico, just a quiet night with more family but it was nice spending it with people we knew.

MontanaNYE

In total we were in Montana for 2 weeks, but it went so quickly as we enjoyed it so much. Just to be able to relax for a while and not worry about sightseeing was great and gave us a much needed break and a chance to recharge before our next adventure.

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