Having spent all my life living in the Northeastern United States, one could easily assume that Christmas was invented here. It actually was. Christmas as we see it today is a by-product of the advertising industry and that industry was based in New York City so no wonder the images I saw so closely matched my experiences.
It wasn’t until my belief in Santa had faded, had I discovered that the majority of the world did not experience the same kind of Christmas I had. For many, Christmas arrived in the summer, not the winter. What could it have been like for a child in these regions of the world to see a holiday so tightly woven through a culture foreign to them? Then I realized, it wasn’t. We each lived simultaneously, in two rather different worlds.
As a child growing up in my region of the world, everything made sense. Christmas was very cold, we’d have snow on the ground and sometimes a lot of snow and lights decorated Evergreen trees, just like to stories, just like the ads. Most of us even had chimneys for Santa to come down. Imagine my surprise when I learned my entire idea of Christmas was not the worlds view. In some area’s, Santa dressed very differently, in others, he wore shorts and yet in even more, he didn’t exist at all. Could people really feel the Christmas Spirit if it weren’t below freezing and the ground covered in snow? I had to find out for myself.
Today is Christmas Day and here I am in the Florida Keys. Christmas lights adorn Palm Trees and Sail Boats, Santa’s wear shorts, Children all around me woke up this morning excited to find presents under their Christmas Trees or in their Stockings. You don’t need to be here long to realize that the bitter cold of the North East and mounds of snow, do not make Christmas. Sure, they might be excited to see snow first hand, but it does not take long to realize just how annoying it is to deal with snow when you have to go to work in it, shovel it or deal with it any way day after day. Even ski slopes that depend on snow struggle to deal with it, as it constantly needs tending to.
I have to tell you, it’s not bad, not bad at all. I’m sitting here listening to Christmas music, by a pool, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and its 82 degrees Fahrenheit, surrounded by people who had to get away from the cold. The closest I’ll get to anything frozen is a Pina` Colada. The only way this could be better…if I were on a sailboat rocking in the waves.
Now I understand that some people do not like the heat, though 82* isn’t that bad when you have a beautiful breeze coming in off the ocean, but for those of you that actually like it cold, go build me a snowman holding a Pina Colada and Sun Glasses.
Merry Christmas from the Florida Keys.