Christmas

Rachael Ray Celebrates a Hallmark Like Christmas After Tragedy Strikes

Christmas is an annual reminder to do our best to see the bright side of something terrible happening. Rachael Ray’s home burned to the ground just last August. This was her first Christmas in their new house. Nobody should have to go through a fire. It’s a shock to the system and wipes out memories. But these things happen and it’s wonderful she and her husband were able to pull through and enjoy the season.

Christmas is about so many things

Among them being grateful for what you have. Rachael and John Cusimano have been married for 16 years, having just celebrated an anniversary this past September. Last year they spent Thanksgiving on the porch of their guest home so this is an upgrade.

This year Ray was so excited she decorated her home and shared it with the world on Instagram. Her great room had sparkling icicle lights with garland. The icicle theme extended to a table top Christmas tree in the middle of a room with accompanying silver balls.

Joyous food and decoration

Ray captioned a picture with, “It’s beginning to look a lot like…” followed by a couple festive emojis.  Since Ray is part of the food network it made total sense to have food art. She had bagel sandwiches made to look like reindeer and a general Christmas Eve feast that would fill up the hungriest person.

Her joy was shared with her dog Bella. She posted a picture of her hugging the dog, saying, “Bella is so over the costumes, but she’s my Christmas angel. Merry Everything, everyone! Xo”.

The story of the house fire

A fire ember came out of the chimney and landed on the roof. Both Rachael and John were home at the time and fled with a few personal things before the house was destroyed.

The entire property was gone. There was nothing,” she told PEOPLE in September. “It was literally a hole in the ground. It was considered a 100% loss. And they cleared away the entire, everything. Took it all.” It took a year to rebuild with construction holding to as much of the original design as possible.

Christmas is a reminder to keep going

Rachael and John are both 53 and continued to film their show during this. Ray’s latest book, “This Must Be The Place”, described the process. “We knew we’d get through this together. When you’re left at home alone for too long, you start to lose a little perspective. You can get tunnel vision and think, ‘Everything’s revolving around us and our little problems.’ But there are so much worse positions we could be in. At the end of the day, John and I, we always come back to grateful. Some days are different than others, but we try to say, ‘Okay, here’s the new plan,’ even when we get down, We’re like Moonstruck over here. We just keep saying, ‘Stop your whining and snap out of it.’ “

Rebuilding can be just as painful as watching memories go up in smoke. That pain can be worse at what is considered a joyful time of the year, Christmas.  Ray remembers, “These huge machines, just taking literally our lives away. I would watch, every single day, past the window, while I was doing interviews, just for weeks, just them carting it all. ‘Bye-bye.’ ” It was strange to see the house completely rebuilt as though nothing had happened to it. “Do you know, it’s the opposite? It really weirded me out. It was harder to walk in when they first finished rebuilding.” She was a wreck after walking in and seeing white walls. “The first time I walked in and just saw all of those white walls, I was a basket case. Because when you look at the walls you see everything that was there in front of you like you’re watching a movie. Like vividly. And that was weird and hard. I could just not separate reality from… what was my life. … It was easier to just see it gone than to look.”

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