O Christmas Tree

On Christmas morning, the Jagers brushed off the snow stacked high atop the car in the bitter cold and headed for Grand Rapids. Still wary of the road conditions after being snowed-in for the past couple days, we took the scenic route away from I-94/196 that hugs the west coast of Michigan and set in for the journey singing Christmas carols together as we made our way north. An uneventful drive confirmed our decision to drive up 131 and before we knew it we were plugging along through the sludge in Grand Rapids’ winter wonderland.

The day after Christmas we visited the Frederik Meijer Gardens for the season of light exhibition honoring cultures and holiday traditions from around the world. From the warm glow of the Hanukkah menorah and Kwanzaa candles to Diwali’s geometric sand paintings, over forty-six unique displays celebrated the diversity of traditions that illuminate the darkest days of the year.

Christmas trees were displayed with traditional decorations representing different countries and a train chugged through the railway garden with the occasional “choo choo!” along the tracks above our heads amidst a miniature city of Grand Rapids’ landmarks. 

The miniature cityscape of Grand Rapids’ landmarks and Sister City buildings was intricately handcrafted for the Railway Garden using pieces of trees, nuts, and pines by the artist Paul Busse and his team for even the tiniest architectural details.

Time spent with the Jager family over Christmas included a handmade pottery lesson for Mom using the pinch-pot method. I taught Sawako how to pinch and rotate a ball of clay in the palm of her hands into a small bowl that she smoothed and engraved before signing the bottom. It was wonderful to share this experience with her.

To cap off the weekend, we took Jenn and Aunt Jackie to the Great Lakes Hockey Invitational at the Van Andel arena for a doubleheader matchup between Michigan Tech and Western Michigan, followed by Michigan State and Ferris State. We had lunch at Two Beards Deli to fill up on our favorite sandwiches before the games. Western surprisingly beat Tech 8-2 and Michigan State lost to Ferris 4-2. MSU didn’t come out on top but we loved every minute of it. Western Michigan ended up winning the whole thing the next day. Go Broncos!

It was a wonderful holiday weekend making memories together. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Jager Family!

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