Storm Mountain Christmas


Merry Christmas!

For the past five years my siblings, their kids and spouses, our mom and my family, have celebrated Christmas at Storm Mountain Center. Storm Mountain is a Methodist church camp for youth and reunions in the summer, but hosts retreats, meetings and gatherings of all sorts in the wintertime. SMC is situated in a beautiful location of the Black Hills about an hour’s drive from our place.  

Now that my brothers and I are married, we have our spouses’ families to consider at holidays. We celebrate our Christmas together over a December weekend prior to the 25th (Storm Mountain isn’t available on Christmas). Having a whole weekend at Storm Mountain enables all of us to get together for Christmas but frees up Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to go other places or spend it with our spouses’ families.

Everybody arrives late afternoon-early evening on a Friday. Each family gets settled into a room at Storm Mountain Center’s Allison Hall Lodge. The lodge’s third floor has a meeting room, showers and bathrooms, and sleeping quarters with a full size bed and bunk beds so each family can have a designated room. The dining hall is located on the second floor and also has a large meeting room but with a fireplace. The first floor has a large rec room with a ping pong table and meeting room with a fireplace. 

 We’ve had the option to stay in Storm Mountain’s newest addition; the Sander Lodge, but the kids like being in the same building as the rec room and dining hall.

We start out our Storm Mountain weekend with supper and catch up with the director Scott Jensen and the SMC staff. One of the highlights of staying at Storm Mountain is the spectacular meals. They cook all our meals and do the dishes for us. We are fed very well. 

After supper, everyone heads to the downstairs meeting room by the fireplace to let the kids open their presents. While they enjoy their new gifts, visiting, ping pong games, and board games follow with a mug of coffee, cocoa or tea that’s available any time. As the evening winds down, everyone chooses their own bedtime.

 Saturday morning starts out with a hearty breakfast prepared by the staff. Oftentimes there’s snow on the ground and everyone burns off breakfast sledding down the hill behind Allison Hall. Cousins, dads and kids, grandma and kids, aunts, uncles and nieces and nephew (our son’s the only boy), barrel down the hill repeatedly until kids get cold or worn out. Much of the rest of the day is spent visiting, relaxing, playing board games or cards, having family ping pong tournaments, watching a movie, and napping by the fire or walking on one of the nearby trails in between lunch and supper.

 We arrange a brunch for Sunday and the morning is followed by more leisure activity downstairs until the afternoon when it’s time to pack up for home.

Our annual Storm Mountain weekend has become a tradition the kids anticipate months ahead of time (partly because we drive by SMC turnoff on the way to Rapid City) and is a high priority at Christmastime. The adults welcome the downtime away from the holiday hubbub, responsibilities at home, and work pressures. We love it at Storm Mountain.

To learn more about how you can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and spectacular food at Storm Mountain for retreats, reunions and the like, check out their website at    


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