By: Rita Henuber
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.
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.
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 http://ritahenuber.com/