It’s 75 degrees out. You throw on a tee shirt, some jeans and flip flops and go to the store because you’re craving those sugar smacks you bought last night, but forgot to buy milk. You walk outside. It’s balmy and breezy, you breathe in a deep breath of tropical air, and put on your sunglasses. You get in the car and turn on the A.C. cause it’s warm outside. Drive to the store, park, walk up to the automatic doors, they swing open and you are hit with a blast of cool, air-conditioned air.
And then you hear this: “Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin’?” Which then begins this thought process: The fuck? Christmas music?! Oh my god it’s December 8. How the fuck? Wasn’t it just Halloween? I’m never gonna get used to this no season thing. Wasn’t Jill talking about going to the pool this weekend? I can’t go to the pool during the holidays. Isn’t that against the rules? Shit, I need to go Christmas shopping. Do I spend $50 bucks on a tree, or put it toward gifts. Screw a tree, it doesn’t even feel like Christmas.
The holidays never feel like the holidays in Florida. It may get cool for a day or two, and possibly, if you’re lucky, you’ll see your breathe outside late at night. This year Thanksgiving didn’t feel like Thanksgiving at all. Rather than curling up in front of the fire, sipping hot apple cider, we ate dinner in my aunt’s backyard, while sipping chilled white wine. I’m chowing down on turkey and cranberry sauce thinking to myself ‘this just feels so wrong.’
Growing up in Brooklyn, the holiday season meant digging up your sweaters, coats and warm clothes. It mean mom buying hot chocolate. It meant the smell of the radiator being turned on after months of summer heat. It meant rushing home after getting off the subway cause it was just so chilly out. By the time the holidays came around, you had the Christmas music ready to go, the decorations weren’t too far away, and you could feel that cheery holiday love in the air.
But in Florida there’s no need to dig up old sweaters. Down here you may own one or two, and even those are only kept handy for the frigid A.C. during the summer months. There’s no burnt radiator smell that signals your Holiday cheer. So you go about your business, living life, knowing that the holidays are going to happen, but not really having any strong grasp on exactly what month it is until you walk into Walgreens and see the decorations. It’s bizarre. It’s bizarre and after 13 holidays in Florida, I’m still not used to it.
Perhaps it’s all the holiday shows and movies that show picturesque, white snow-covered lawns, or people pulling hot beverages close to their chests in their gloved hands. Maybe it’s that I don’t get to wear fun hats, or use those flannel sheets I love so much. Maybe if there was a Cosby family Christmas special done in a tropical climate, I’d feel like my Christmas was a real Christmas too.
But alas, whether it feels like the holidays or not, it is. I’ve gotta hurry up and finish my gift shopping, find something to wear to the company holiday party, and help my mother decorate her tree. This Florida holiday thing may be bizarre and tough to get used to, but I am by no means complaining. Balmy Florida winters mean I don’t have to dig my car out of its space in the morning. Or salt my driveway. Or worry about slippery roads. I don’t have to spend and extra 10 minutes getting dressed because of the extra layers I have to wear. So perhaps it is a fair trade. I may not get the pluses of a wintry white Christmas, but I also don’t have to deal with the minuses, which gives me one more thing to be thankful for this season.
Regardless of where you celebrate your holidays, I hope that its one filled with glitter and love!