Thursday, December 26, 2013

What Christmas in Florida Looks Like

I lived in Chicagoland for 41 years. There was no mistaking winter in Illinois. Everyone knew when Christmas was near because the bitter cold, the snow and ice, the boots, snowpants, gloves, and furnace running nonstop signaled the season. Here in Florida, however, it’s a little different. The Christmas music plays and we see the decorations, but the fact that the sun is shining and we’re wearing shorts makes it difficult to get in the Christmas spirit. There’s just some sort of disconnect there. It’s like those pictures in Highlights Magazine where you have to cross out the things that don’t belong. Christmas music? Check. A decorated tree? Check. Gingerbread men? Check. Santa? Check. A swimming pool? Nope, doesn’t belong in the picture.

This was my family’s third year here in Florida and although the homesickness has mostly subsided, it’s still a little weird around Christmas time. Our traditions have changed some. We no longer go to downtown Chicago to Daley Plaza and Navy Pier. We don’t go sledding or ice skating. We also don’t have to shovel our driveway or try to navigate the shopping cart through the snow and sludge in the parking lot while our hands and noses freeze. Instead, we’ve found some different traditions. We go to the beach. We go to Blue Spring State Park to see the manatees that take refuge there when the ocean water gets too cold. We go to the Christmas parade and sit in the sun, sweating. We go outside in the warm evening and wait for Santa to ride by on a firetruck a week before Christmas. And we go to theme parks and enjoy the decorations, all while wearing our shorts and t-shirts.

See for yourself what Christmas in Florida looks like:


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