Happy Holidays!

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love."

-Hamilton Wright Mabie

We do not have snow as this picture suggests--this is from last winter.

It is 4:30 pm here in Skamokawa and we have just completed the day's chores. The sun is setting over the Willapa Hills creating one of those skies that makes you wish you could paint. I love this time of day when the light changes and all is quiet but for the bubbling of Crippen Creek and the crackling of a fire in the fireplace. As I sit here sipping a cup of hot tea (I would prefer a glass of wine, but I've really got to cut some calories,) I am reflecting on the fact that it is the season to wish you all a Happy Holiday! And I only know that because the calendar tells me so. We are blessed to be without television and radio reception and thus are spared the relentless assault of inane Christmas commercials. And so we are better able to enter into the deeper meaning of the season.

While some may think that our wishes for a Happy Holiday is a sellout to political correctness, we prefer to think that it is a sensitivity to and acknowledgment of the fact Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated this month. My calendar shows me that there is also Hannukkah and Kwanzaa and we know many people that celebrate the Winter Solstice. As different as these traditions are from one another, they do seem to share the common theme of wishing their fellow beings a season of peace and joy. They also seem to share a tradition of gift giving. So now I would like to share our thoughts and suggestions on gift giving and certainly hope that it will not be crass.

First, I would like to recommend a wonderful book on this subject called The Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben.

It is a quick and easy read but full of wisdom and history of our gift giving traditions. He offers creative suggestions for those that have grown weary of this season's crass commercialism.

The Christmas we now celebrate grew up at a time when Americans were mostly poor ... mostly working with their hands and backs." If we now feel burdened and unsatisfied by the piles of gifts and overconsuming, it is not because Christmas has changed all that much, "It's because we have." - Bill McKibben

Our second recommendation is for a new book by our good friend and local Skamokawa author, Beth Sheresh. Beth has just published a wonderful cookbook entitled, Picture Yourself Cooking With Your Kids. What a great way to spend quality time with your kids, the little ones and the big ones. And if you don't have kids, it's still a great cookbook. There's even a recipe for the Speranza Family Meatballs. Beth is a great bread baker and all around great foodie. Check out her blog the kitchenmage.

While you can certainly get these books at Amazon.com we hope you will support your local independent bookstore. We are fortunate to have Trillium Books in nearby Cathlamet.

Last but not least, if you are tired of buying and receiving stuff, may we suggest the gift of an experience. The Inn At Crippen Creek Farm offers gift certificates for all occasions.

A cooking class ($55-85 depending on the class)

An overnight stay , double occupancy ($132, taxes included)*

Romantic Getaway (An overnight stay with dinner for two - $199, taxes included)*

Culinary Getaway (An overnight stay with an Italian Country Cooking Class for two- $290)*

*includes a bountiful country breakfast

We would also be glad to work with you on customizing a package to meet your needs.

If you have never been to The Inn At Crippen Creek Farm, you may wonder just what it is that you will experience at our country bed and breakfast. For starters, you can expect warm hospitality and complimentary appetizers with wine on arrival.

Some guests like to help with the farm chores.

This pile of firewood is still waiting for some lucky guest that wants to stack it.

Some like to go for a walk or bike ride on a country road.

Some like to venture out to the Washington Coast during the clamming season.

How about a picnic after a morning of kayaking?

Early risers in the winter can enjoy watching the elk graze on the front lawn

Enjoy some of the finest dining in the area right here at the inn with a locavore dinner.

How about a rousing game of Scrabble? I'll teach you my favorite two letter words that are bound to make your opponents utter four letter words.

Take a cooking class and learn the fine art of Italian Country Cooking.

And finally everyone's favorite activity--hanging out.