Cruiser Christmas Carols

Image c/o

We are used to Midwest Christmases – piles of snow, Santa coming down the chimney, mugs of hot cocoa and hot toddies, cuddling up by the fire… This year will be our first Christmas in the islands, and I’ve been having a hard time visualizing what that will be like and how I can make it as special for Claire as possible.

One of the things she loves to do is sing, so breaking out the Christmas carols seemed like a good place to start getting her (and us) excited for the upcoming season. The only problem is, many of them reference those same idyllic cozy winter settings we’ve enjoyed years past.

So, I reached out to the lovely ladies of the Women Who Sail Facebook group and asked them to help me rewrite some popular holiday tunes. While I wouldn’t dare change a thing in “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” (Claire’s absolute favorite), I think we’ve come up with some great renditions. If I can just get Aaron to strum along on his guitar, I know we’ll be singing these for months – hopefully on a sandy shore with a refreshing rum cocktail.

Cruiser Christmas Carols

12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Twelve starfish sparkling
Eleven crabs a-crawling
Ten turtles trolling
Nine sharks a-swimming
Eight whales a-whirling
Seven dolphins diving
Six waves a rolling
Four moray eels
Three clownfish
Two anemones
And a coconut in a palm tree


Walkin’ in a Sun-Filled Wonderland (c/o Sandra Montgomery)

Halyards ring, are you listening?
On the waves, sun is glistening.
It’s a beautiful sight, we’re doing alright,
Basking in a sun-filled wonderland.

Gone away, is the cold wind
Here to stay is the warm wind
It’s a comforting breeze we live life with ease
Basking in a sun-filled wonderland.

On white beaches we will build a castle
And pretend that it is our new home
We will ask our friends to come and join us
Together on these lush lands we will roam.

Later on we’ll retire
with a rum by the fire
The stories we’ll trade, of memories made
Basking in a sun-filled wonderland.


Sail Together (Sleigh Ride)

Just hear those halyards jingle-ing
Ring ting tingle-ing too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sail together with you

Outside the fish are playing
And friends are saying “Yoo Hoo”
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sail together with you

Giddy-yap giddy-yap giddy-yap
Let’s go
Let’s look at the view
We’re sailing in a wonderland of blue

Giddy-yap giddy-yap giddy-yap it’s grand
Just holding your hand
We’re gliding along with the song
Past the ribbons of warm pink sand

Our cheeks are nice and toasty
And comfy cozy are we
We’re snuggled up together like two
Birds of a feather would be

Let’s take the course before us
And sing a chorus or two
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sail together with you


Bright Christmas

I’m dreaming of a bright Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the blue waves glisten and children listen
To hear, sleigh bells on the bow

I’m dreaming of a bright Christmas
With every lantern that I light
May your days, may your days, may your days be filled with delight
And may all your Christmases be bright


Deck the Hulls

Deck the hulls with boughs of holly
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la la la la la la la

Don we now our suit and snorkel
Fa la la la la la la la la
Troll the ocean’s ancient coral
Fa la la la la la la la la

See the steady winds before us
Fa la la la la la la la la
Santa’s sleigh is sure to guide us
Fa la la la la la la la la

To an island filled with cheer
Fa la la la la la la la la
And our friends and family near
Fa la la la la la la la la


Let it Blow

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But your cabin’s so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow

It doesn’t show signs of slowing
But the rum down here’s a-flowing
The lights are turned way down low
Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow

When we finally kiss good night
How I’ll hate going out in the storm
But if you really hold me tight
The whole dinghy ride I’ll be warm!

The waves are slowly dying
And my dear, we’re still goodbye-ing
But as long as you love me so
Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow.

A Very Maritime Christmas

ChristmasSailThis holiday season was a perfect mixture of family celebrations, winter adventures, and preparations for what’s to come.

This was almost assuredly our last Christmas at our condo in Oak Park. It’s crazy to think that I have no idea where we will be a year from now. But exciting, too.

Our families are unbelievably supportive of our plans, and gave the most thoughtful gifts that will make our transition to boating life even more comfortable. Turkish towels for the bath/beach and the galley. (They are a most-coveted item for cruisers: Learn more about Turkish towels here in a great post from another boating family.) Appropriately sized pans for a boat grill. Squigz and other toys that will fair well on a less-than-stable “work surface,” oceanography books and a pocket microscope for our little adventurist, and a cozy owl sleeping bag for starry slumber parties on the bow. And so much more – even a moisture-resistant to-go bag for all of my knitting materials! Yes, my hobby has become an obsession.

In the interest of saving as much as possible for our next chapter, Aaron and I decided to stick to a $10 limit for our gifts to each other. I made him a homemade bag of boat rags (you can never have too many!), and he put together a trivia game for me to learn more about the Bahamian Islands. Each answer gave me the next port of call, and as I “mapped out” our course, a gift awaited me at each place (a hand massage, a few hours to myself, and some essentials I’ll need during our time on the water, like a quality pair of polarized sunglasses). That Aaron guy – he’s a keeper.


A day after we arrived in Michigan, there was finally a decent snowfall! Claire was mesmerized.

After celebrating with my family in a cornucopia of delicious dinners, we spent the week of New Year’s in Michigan with Aaron’s. Well aware of our impending lack of childcare, we reveled in being able to leave Claire with Aaron’s mom in Grand Rapids for a few days and head north to Boyne for skiing and card game debauchery with his brother and his family. Then it was back to Grand Rapids to ring in the New Year with full bellies and full hearts.

Throughout the holiday season, I tried to be as present in the moment as possible. The beauty of thick snow hugging the trees, having family just a short car ride away, the simple pleasure of cozying up to the fireplace after a day spent burning as many calories laughing as skiing … I’m going to miss all of it.

Now begins the real work. We will be meeting with our realtor this week and should have the condo listed shortly thereafter. We continue to toss around whether or not to list Clarity with a broker, though time is proving to be a strong ally to brokering.

In the meantime, more and more “stuff” needs sorting, selling, storing… The tasks seem to keep breeding.

“Let’s sit down tonight and write down a list of to-do lists that need doing.” Sigh…

It’s all worth it, though, with the end game in mind. White sandy beaches, warm afternoon breezes, we’re coming for you. 2016, however you play out, you’re already rocking our world.