The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, December 21, 2017, Page 8, Image 8

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Surviving Christmas Visitors: A North Coast Guide
Madison and Green
Illustrations BY JOHN JOLLEY
o matter how I prepare myself
for Christmas, it always catches
me by surprise. Wasn’t it just
yesterday that I was wrapped
tightly in the warm embrace of sum-
Now the specter of family gather-
ings looms.
That means kith and kin descending
on my safe little North Coast bubble
from such exotic Midwestern locales
It also means hours of ex-
tended, close-quarters, full-contact
Christmas fun and repeatedly answer-
ing the question “Does it always rain
this much here?”
Because I’m not smart enough to
plan ahead, there’s no escaping to
Hawaii or Cabo.
But I’ve survived this before, thanks
to my three-step plan of attack.
Step 1: Get outside
Because I live at the beach, this
is the place folks from my native
Midwest often want to be during the
If your house is small like mine,
you’ll quickly realize that setting up
alternate lodging for your guests is the
top priority. Nothing tests holiday spirit
or the bonds of
marriage faster
than twenty
people under
one roof sharing one
functioning bathroom.
There are plenty of options, includ-
ing a variety of vacation rentals.
Just don’t wait until the last
minute to try and find a vacancy.
The only thing you’ll accom-
plish by calling the week before
Christmas is giving the rental
agency a good laugh.
Because it’s December, rain
poses a problem. Year-round
coastal residents often tune it
out. Not so with many
out-of-state visitors.
Rain bothers
them, even
when I try
to ex-
virtues of not having to shovel it.
After about an hour of looking out
the window for any sign of a break
in the weather they become irritable.
That’s when they start breaking out fun
facts like how you could buy a small
town in Minnesota for what you paid
for your house.
Before you go full Clark Griswold
on them, you must get them out of the
A lot.
I cannot emphasize this enough.
This isn’t a challenge in the Mid-
west where everyone can pile in the car
and drive to the nearest mall. There,
they would be set free to wander for
hours on end.
Here, many merchants are under-
standably closed or on limited hours
around the holidays, undoubtedly deal-
ing with their own home invaders.
So that means getting outside,
whether it’s strolling the Astoria
Riverwalk, staring at Haystack Rock
or gazing out over the Neahkahnie
I keep umbrellas on hand for my
visitors. Because Oregonians don’t use
them, they serve as a courtesy signal to
locals that I’m hosting out-of-towners
and they should steer clear.
Even soaked, it’s hard for my guests
to stay too grumpy when they’re
taking in some of our most famous,
beautiful scenery.
Plus, the fresh air will wear them