Lodge Tree Tradition: Tenaya's Sparkly Fir

The splendor of the forest finds a place indoors, near Yosemite.

THAT WOODSY SETTING: "Indoor/outdoor living" has been a passionate pursuit for Californians ever since the first patio and the first swimming pool and the first sliding glass door was installed, an historic, though likely lost to time, moment. The whole "indoor/outdoor" bit is no trite, overly tossed-around label, either; Golden Staters, as a rule, are an outdoorsy lot, thanks to the copious sunshine and soft sea breezes and all of that mountain air found in our many peak-filled ranges. It can be most satisfying, then, when holiday decor reflects the world beyond the front door. We're not going to bag on snowmen baubles if a person loves to decorate with them but happens to live in the desert; snowmen and snow globes and snowflake ornaments always charm, even if you walk outside to see warm sun and lots of succulents. But strolling in from a famed forested area into a woodsy lodge and beholding a grand fir inside can, in a way, psychically cement that indoor/outdoor relationship that we Californians dearly prize. You can find such visions at some of our state's big lodges, which just happen to be located in a region brimming with fir trees. Look to Tenaya Lodge, which is just a scoot south of Yosemite National Lodge, for that alfresco fir fun, indoor fir wow feel. The hotel just lit its grand tree, and it'll stand at the heart of the lobby throughout the yuletide season.

TALL TREE: It's a 35-footer, which is likely a smidge taller than the trees found inside most homes (unless you built an especially massive den just for the purpose of having a super sky-high tree each December). If you like the idea of admiring the tree for a few minutes before heading out to be among the thousands of Sierra-spectacular trees just beyond the hotel's front entrance, there are winter plans to be made, from snowshoe excursions to sledding and tubing. That's always the issue, though, with a Christmastime trip to the mountains, right? Stay cozy by the lobby tree, with a book, or be among the trees in the wild? Whatever your choice, it is nice to experience both the indoor and outdoor parts of "indoor/outdoor California living" in one fell and festive swoop.

SO, ocean-close hotels of California, are you doing the same? Decorating with shells and seaweed motifs, to make your holiday decor as indoor/outdoor as possible, too?

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