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When Christmas Came to Vashon Island

When Christmas Came to Vashon Island
Home for the holidays, and everyday.
Angel Gabriel ornament
An angel in last year’s tree inspiring this year’s intentions.

Living on an island has its challenges, but it also has its rewards, revealing special moments that speak to the kinship of isolation and the camaraderie of everyone being in (and on) the same boat.

While commuting by ferry creates bottlenecks and headaches daily, it also fosters a bond, an unspoken appreciation that someone else shares your daily roundtrip odyssey. The smiles and nods to familiar strangers, one day makes them friends. So tonight when I returned to the island from a very long day in a less-welcoming place, I stood on the bow well before we reached Vashon. I savored that simple joy of returning home. The wind was bracing, the sky spun with gold, and the Olympic Mountains seized the horizon and my attention.

Home for the holidays, and everyday.
Home for the holidays, and everyday.

On the open car deck, Christmas trees topped a number of vehicles.  One Jeep sported a wreath on its grille, the kids behind its steamed-up windows singing spirited renditions of the season’s best (between punches). I smiled; their parents smiled. The choir continued the concert.winter ferry ride

With the din of the ferry silenced, we docked and I disembarked, walking more than briskly toward the warm, waiting bus. A stream of cars sped off the ferry and then one honked. I turned in time to see Santa in an SUV giving us a wave. I returned a smile and hearty hat tip.

Christmas had come to Vashon.  I just had no idea we’d share the same ferry.

Findling light
Finding light in the season…


  1. Thanks for sharing this heartwarming story about Christmas Spirit —– it’s catching!!!
    It also prompts sweet memories of Christmas past shared with you!!

  2. What a nice reminder to slow down and enjoy the season!

    If you continue to conjure up such amazing images of Vashon, word might get out and you’ll have even more company on your commute.

  3. So beautiful, Tom! It is the simple shared moments that exalt this season. You live in a wonderful place, and I always feel so fortunate that you share it with us…so far away.

    Thank you!

  4. Your description of the ferry commute made me think of our experience of returning home from the workplace that’s so different and far away from home. Our workplaces being big metro centers gives us a 2-4 day commute and its always such a lovely decompression experience going from fun but totally weird/nuts urban pace to boring flat midwest and finally back to the beautiful western mountains and home! Its a big headache of a trip but has it’s own little stories along the way and sure makes you appreciate what you have at home!

  5. Dear Tom, I enjoyed ‘When Christmas came to Vashon Island’ so much.
    I’ll post a link on our website because I bet people from all over the world will enjoy it as much as I do.
    Best wishes,
    Linde Lund

    • Hi Linde, thank you so much for the kind words, and for sharing the story. Thank you also, for keeping the spirit alive of one of Vashon’s very own. Best wishes to you, too, Linde.

  6. Makes me miss home…Christmas on the old Island homestead has never been matched! Our old house on the hill next to Beall Greenhouses was always decked out in it’s Christmas finery and mom was baking the BEST Christmas cookies ever!!!


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