Christmas time: a time of gentle snowfall, fireplaces with decorated mantles, and the never-ending smell of evergreens. Nothing like the holiday décor to get everyone feeling that Christmas spirit. But what happens if your Christmas season is less than a wintry wonderland? Well I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of us that don’t have the luxury of the perfect Christmas postcard yet we don’t miss it either. Sure it would be nice to see a few kids making snow angels and carolers wearing their muffs singing at your door. But we Southerners have created our own special traditions, not to be dismissed. First of all, we have the Christmas hayride. That’s right, gathering up a bunch of kids on the back of a trailer full of hay and going on a singing neighborhood tour is good old fashioned family fun. No need for layers and layers of coats and jackets. Maybe a light jacket or depending on the day, even a guayabera would be all we need. But we still appreciate the season. We’ll try to keep it red and green and follow the latest fashion trends. Just no snowman sweaters please!
And you just can’t beat touring our neighborhood light shows. Nothing beats a lit up palm tree with the electronic moving alligator and flamingo display. Despite the tropical flare, Santa and his reindeer still visit down here. And we can put an abundance of lights in places northerners simply can’t. We don’t have to deal with tramping through snow, icicles falling on our heads, or slipping off slick roofs. Well I take that back, we still slip but it’s not because of hard ice but mere clumsiness. And our light displays can be seen from space because we must cover every ounce of the rooftop with an incandescent glow. It’s our answer to snow if merely an electric one. Puts on one heck of a show though.
Ok, no fireplace here but heck can you beat a tree decorated in seashells and starfish? I think not. And yes we still can smell the evergreens in the air. We get our Christmas tree stands too you know. We’re not that primitive after all. We just decorate them in style! No fireplace needed, although I can still hang tinsel on the ceiling fan and let it blow in the breeze when I need to cool down a bit.
Sure you people up north have your turkey. We have ours too, on the grill, mmmmm. We can still barbecue in our neck of the woods. No ten below zero here to keep our tootsies in the house. So the party never stops. And have you tried fresh dolphin with mango chutney with a sprig of mint to keep the festive flavor alive? Well if you haven’t I dare say your traditions need a fixin. And who said key lime pie wasn’t green enough for the Christmas spirit? Quite delicious and always a family favorite.
I could go on but you get the idea, Christmas is wonderful despite where you may reside on this planet of ours. In fact, I hope to learn Christmas traditions of many areas of the globe, not just here in the good old south. But I know that in my book, moonlit nights on the beach with a single ball hanging from that lone palm frond with a sandman and his carrot nose will always mean Christmas to me.
By Laura Dreher