This picture is from one of my favorite Christmas memories. We drove five and a half hours to celebrate an early Christmas with all our kids and grandkids. Since no one had a big house at that time, Gramps and I hosted the party in the conference room of the hotel where we were staying. (That has become a tradition now.)

That year, we invited several of the youngest granddaughters to spend the night with us in the hotel. The next day would be Christmas eve, and their parents would fetch them after hotel breakfast. Ice was not in the weather predictions when we snuggled into our beds/sofas/pallets-on-the-floor.

The next morning, we opened our drapes to find this winter wonderland. Along with a city that had been shut down by an ice storm. No one could drive to pick up the kiddos. No problem. We will enjoy the day together in our jammies.

And then, someone got hungry. We had enjoyed the hotel breakfast, but they didn’t offer lunch. Or supper. All of the eateries around us were closed, even if we could have slid toward them. So, gramps and I stood in our room with hungry granddaughters and wondered what to do. “Vending machines,” one of us said.

The girls dashed down the hallway, waving Grandpa’s cash and coins. It had to be the least-healthy meal any of those children have ever eaten. And, quite possibly, one of the most fun.

We managed to connect with parents before bedtime on Christmas Eve. Our vending machine Christmas just a warm memory in my mind. This year it reminds me that we can make the most of anything. And even the most difficult circumstances often come with silver linings – like a Snickers bar with potato chips on the side.