Monday, December 10, 2012

So This Is Christmas

So This Is Christmas

When we think of the different ways to celebrate Christmas we generally think nationality differences and continental differences. Right here in this country Christmas is celebrated in dozens, if not hundreds of different ways.

Maybe you go to Rockefeller center to ice skate, or to the Plaza in Kansa City (with three hundred thousand other people) to see the lights come on. Or, to the water to watch boats in their holiday finest sail past.

During Christmas do you see what I see?

I grew up in Florida. Christmas never included snow. I do see white, but it's beach sand. We made our own wreaths from cedar boughs or magnolia leaves, decorated with holly and humongous pinecones. Garlands were made of the same material,  all of which we gathered ourselves. Table decorations could be palm fronds, magnolia leaves, holly and citrus fruit punctured with cloves. It was the job of the cousins to decorate the citrus with whole cloves. I associate the smell of cedar, drying citrus and cloves with Christmas.

Now I decorate with Santas wearing flower print shirts and sandals. On my tree are twinkle lights covered with shells and plastic flamingos and starfish. My tree has a giant starfish at the top, mermaids and san dollars.  Outside I see poinsettias in everyone's garden and palm trees wrapped with Christmas lights. Wreaths are decorated with shells. After Christmas, I see Santa in his bright print shorts riding a yellow bicycle on the beach or surfing. No joke!

During Christmas do you hear what I hear?

How do you say Merry Christmas? Around here it's likely to be, "Y'all have a Merry Christmas." Or maybe, according to your heritage, you say one of these.

Mele Kalikimaka- Hawaiian
Feliz Navidad- Spanish
Joyeux Noël - French
Fršhliche Weihnachten!  - German
Buon Natale! – Italian
I will also say I'm far more likely to hear boat motors then sleigh bells.

During Christmas do you feel what I feel?

Christmas here feels warm. The evenings can be chilly and damp this time of year. Warm days and cool nights bring late night and early morning fog. Still many of the holiday parties are indoor/outdoor by the pool parties.

How does Santa arrive at your house? In Hawaii he goes between the islands dressed in print shorts and sandals in an outrigger canoe pulled by four pigs. His helpers are the menehune. Little people of the islands who live in the deep forest. In Norway he dresses in a heavy woolen red outfit and arrives in a sled pulled by reindeer. His elves help deliver the gifts.

In Florida, sometimes Santa comes in a boat. His helpers are big burly guys called Bubba who deliver gifts by truck.

Santa appears to some children in this country in a Marine Corps dress blue uniform.
Almost every family has their own special tradition. My children received Christmas lifesaver boxes in their stockings and to this day don’t think it’s Christmas without them.

Do you have your celebration Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? My extended family came together on Christmas Eve and the gathering had a Spanish influence. Christmas Eve dinner was Paella, saffron rice cooked with chicken, pork, and a variety of seafood. Ali Oli, a garlic, mayonnaise like, spread eaten with crispy bread slices. (BTW we were never bothered by vampires) frittata (a potato omelet), roast pork, flan, and citrus rind candy. That evening a dear auntie would smoke a stogie and drink down three fingers of bourbon. She did it until she was 85.

Feel free to share your Christmas experiences with us.

Where ever you are, however you celebrate Christmas I wish you love, peace and happiness.

Rita writes books about extraordinary women and the men they love. To find out more about Rita visit her web home   


  1. Great post. Have a Merry Christmas and great holiday season. Its cool to hear about how it can be celebrated in different areas.

  2. Christmas here at my house in CT is all about family and friends. We just spent the weekend with my Daughter in MA. She and her boyfriend are Corrections Officers and have to work the Holiday so we did Christmas with them this past weekend. Makes me sad we won't see her for the Holidays but I also got to spend time with her and not have to share her with the rest of the family. I do all the cooking for all Holidays but Thanksgiving. Both sides of the family will be at my house on Christmas Eve this year instead of 1/2 on eve and 1/2 on day. Then Christmas Day it will be my Dad who will be here from NH and my Mother-in-Law who will stay overnight to spend Christmas Day with us instead of being alone. So Eve is big dinner, Day will be lay back and relaxing I hope...Have a wonderful Holiday and thanks for all the hours of enjoyment...

    1. The holidays are in your heart. With family serving in the military, police and fire departments you learn top take the days when you can. you we get to celebrate more than once. Thank you for sharing your holiday story.

  3. I enjoyed the post and wish everyone the most joyous Holiday Season - Merry Christmas!

  4. I have not see snow in years and actually miss it. Christmas for my family... we decorate together weeks before with lights, stockings, Santas, Reindeer, etc... on Christmas day, we have breakfast together, then look in our stockings, followed by presents... later on we have an early dinner together.
    Happy Happy Holidays All!

    1. Sounds wonderful.
      The temp here right now is 80. Don't think i'll be seeing snow any time soon LOL!