The dark side of the fancy igloo dining trend

I’m about to tell you a cautionary tale, my friends. I’m also going to confess my own foolishness and vanity to you.

You know those sparkling pictures and stories you’ve seen on Instagram of friends dining in clear bubble igloos bedecked with dazzling Christmas lights? They look both safe from Coronavirus AND fashionably fabulous.

I tried to arrange an experience like that for my family.

I wanted our igloo dinner to be as festive, flawless and fantastic as the pictures and videos I saw on Instagram. I wanted it to be PERFECT.

I did some research, figured out which restaurants near us have igloos (answer: a lot of them!) and booked us a reservation. I hadn’t seen photos of the igloos at the restaurant we chose, but I had heard good things about their food and was eager to give them a shot.

In hindsight, was it a little odd that the restaurant didn’t have photos of its igloos on Facebook or Instagram? Yes, that might have been a clue – but I was blissfully unaware that anything could be the matter. I had a one-track mind. I wanted that igloo meal. Nay, I NEEDED it!

The day before Christmas Eve rolled around, and we three got dolled up for our meal out. We honestly hadn’t gone out in a while. I was excited and actually wore makeup and jewelry.

We drove up to cute little downtown Delaware, parked and walked toward the restaurant. Things already felt magical. There were Christmas lights twinkling and a very light misting of rain added to the mystical ambiance. We turned a corner, expecting to see darling, sparkling igloos… and we saw straight-up garden sheds.

The restaurant where we had chosen to have our special igloo dinner had a couple of rectangular, clear garden sheds out front. There was a deafeningly loud generator powering the lights and heaters. My stomach had that sinking feeling I get when everything is going horribly wrong.

This was not the magical igloo dining experience of my dreams. This was starting to feel like a nightmare. We poked our heads inside the lovely restaurant to check in. They had our reservation, and offered us a socially distanced table inside. I was tempted to take it!

But then hubby said, “hey I thought you booked us an igloo?” so back outside we went to find a garden shed. The hostess directed us to the one right next to the generator. Hubby and I both bumped our heads getting to our seats – it was extremely cramped inside.

Finally, we were seated… but we could barely hear ourselves think with that generator loudly running on the other side of our little garden shed wall. The seats were not comfortable. There was no cute decor.

I was beyond disappointed. Then suddenly, I felt goofy for caring about something so silly. I realized this experience was far funnier, and could end up being even more fun than a dazzling, perfect Christmas igloo.

I began to joke and poke fun at myself, the goofy garden shed and the loud generator. Once E and Z saw me smiling and laughing about it, they started cracking jokes, too. We all ended up laughing our way through dinner.

It was fun, silly and ridiculous. We were sitting in a little clear plastic garden shed on the side of a busy road with a generator loudly running. It was hilarious!

The food was good, and I don’t want to mention the restaurant because I am not looking to slam them. They honestly never told me they had dazzling, round, fabulous igloos – I simply made that assumption. It was my mistake.

My main purpose in writing this is two-fold: one, I don’t want anyone else to be disappointed by a less-than-Instagrammable “igloo” experience. Be aware that not all dining igloos are igloos at all – so do your research and ask detailed questions before making that reservation.

But the other reason I want to share this story is that I actually love that it turned out the way it did. There’s absolutely no one I would rather be trapped in a cramped garden shed with at the tail-end of 2020 than my beloved hubby and our darling daughter. We made it fun!

We laughed until we cried during that non-igloo dinner. We blasted Post Malone on my phone and tried to dance in our seats, as much as we could in our cramped, clear little box. We told each other that our garden shed was the most “lit” garden shed ever. I believe it, too.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to keep our expectations low, look for the positives even in tough situations, be resilient and sometimes even laugh when we feel like crying. Our “igloo” dinner was a microcosm of the entire year stuck home together. I loved it and wouldn’t change a thing.

How about you – have you tried the fancy igloo dining craze? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on Facebook.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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