Embrace the holiday spirit with a very snowy (and nostalgic) photo diary by nature photographer extraordinaire, Kate Rentz.
Kate Rentz is one of my most favorite humans on the earth. She’s charismatic and carefree, willing to share her heart with anyone who crosses her path. Her heart is big and generous, her mind always on the go. She is always devising her next adventure or figuring out how to help a friend in need. She is able to see the real beauty in life, in nature, in people. She is able to express that graceful beauty in her photographs — strong in aesthetic yet perfect in its simplicity. It’s as though you can hear the landscapes whispering their secrets to you.
She travels the world, discovering and shooting some of the most magnificent places to ever exist. From the depths of Bryce Canyon to the foggy stillness of Yosemite, Kate has the ability to transport her viewers there, through her lens.
As I enjoy this warm California afternoon, four days before Christmas, I am compelled to think of Kate’s images. She grew up in Ohio and now resides in Los Angeles, but I can’t help to recall gorgeous photos she recently shot in her snowy home state. Not only are they beautiful, they create in me a warm and nostalgic feeling. A feeling that brings me back to family and tradition. Below, the talented photographer shares with us her white Christmas.
Get the look: Labryinth Poncho
“Growing up we would always kick off Christmas Eve by attending the evening service at my family church. I couldn’t wait until the end because we got to sing Silent Night while holding candles in our hands, so serious yet magical. After service ended, we would have dinner at my grandparents’ house. I should mention that my grandfather looked like Santa Claus. When we were younger, he would dress up like him and we loved it. After my grandparents’ house, my family would hurry home and my parents would allow each of us kids to open just one gift. The gift would be pajamas every year, a tradition that continues to this day. On Christmas day, my siblings and I would wake up super early and rush downstairs. There, my mom would have piles of presents laid out for each child. There was no waiting or taking turns to open gifts in my family. There were just too many of us. We would tear them open, compare presents, scream out our thank you’s and hurriedly move on to the next gift. It was so fun and exciting. We would then go to my other grandparents’ home around noon and each of us would bring our favorite toy over to show our cousins. When it was time for opening presents, we would line up from youngest to oldest to receive gifts — it usually took a long time. There were sixteen of us grandkids. Sometimes we would sing carols together and other times we would go sledding nearby.
There was this one Christmas Eve where my older brother and I were convinced we saw Rudolph flying through the sky and we got really hyper thinking Santa was coming. We wouldn’t go to bed and were bouncing off the walls. For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to rub a pillow over our heads to make our hair stand straight up from static electricity. I don’t think we fell asleep that night because we were laughing so much.” – Kate Rentz
How is LA Christmas different from growing up in Ohio?
In LA, everyone is super busy with work and life in general, especially through December, so it can be hard to remember that it’s the holiday season. There are so many distractions and the month passes by so quickly. Because the lifestyle in Ohio is much slower, I think it’s easier to enjoy the build up of Christmas. You have time to shop, to attend Christmas pageants, to drive by the overtly decorated homes in nearby neighborhoods. I feel like people really take it seriously there.
What do you miss most about a snowy holiday?
I love being wrapped in a blanket in front of a fireplace drinking hot chocolate and really having a reason to do so because it’s so cold outside. I love the way the snow blankets the landscape and the crunching sound it makes when you walk on it. I love being able to go sledding and make a snowman and the way it makes you feel like you’re still a kid. There’s also this silence when it snows at night that is hard to describe, but it is the most peaceful experience ever. It’s like you’re living in a real life snow globe and you’re the only one inside. That is probably my favorite feeling and one I haven’t experienced in a really long time.
Do you and your husband have any new holiday traditions?
We don’t have too many yet! We do make it a point to try and get our Christmas tree as early as possible so we can soak in all the Christmas we can get. We both tend to travel a lot for work during December and have missed out on a lot of the holiday season, so it has been hard to create traditions of our own. I’m hoping this next Christmas will be one for creating them though! I am a very traditional person naturally, so I’m already planning lots of things for future holidays.
How would you describe a snowy christmas to someone who has never experienced it?
Waking up to a snowy Christmas morning is the best thing ever! The joy it brings is similar to the feeling of experiencing something new for the very first time. You feel like you’re living in a perfect world and everything around you is straight out of a story book. You instantly feel like a child and there’s this sense of happiness that exists inside of you that you didn’t know you had.
Thank you, Kate, for sharing your white Christmas with us. Follow Kate on Instagram.
+What are your favorite snow day memories? Please share in the comments!
Follow Joanna on Instagram.