When I lived in Florida, I missed home, because of the four seasons and winter sports it offered, but experiencing Christmas there was also very magical. Floridians are very keen on decorating, whether it is a palm tree or a house, there are lights everywhere and a lot of retirees go out fast walking with Santa’s hat on, sometimes smiling with white teeth, even brighter with their well-maintained tan… or they do water aerobics in a pool. For young people, Christmas in Orlando’s Disneyland is an experience of a lifetime. I spent my first Christmas day in Florida when I was 15. After joining a candlelight show choir in Orlando’s Disneyland and still daydreaming about it after, I went to the pool and suntanned and then watched dolphins at the beach – something completely foreign to me at the time. My mother brought me to Florida, knowing I was completely in love with dolphins, and even though public transport sucked and there was never any piazza in the cities, Florida had its own magic, in addition to ONE of my favorite species on the planet.
The tree in May 🙂
Now when I am in Chicago I love traveling to Florida for the holidays and getting the best of both worlds. One of the traditions we started was building the Christmas trees from thousands of shells we would collect. The tree gets bigger by the year and we began getting help from other residents of our building. It makes the Christmas season all the better when celebrating with the community, and Floridians LOVE a creative project. At night we light the tree with candles and those who take Christmas evening walks on the beach hang around the tree for a while, taking pictures and/or adding shells. It was actually started by my mom, and I chipped in, then my stepdad challenged us to take it up a notch. I remember the biggest Christmas tree I ever saw was in Germany when I was 10 and we visited friends in Marktredwitz. I loved it there among the picturesque town and Christmas markets, Christmas spirit, and I could swear the snowman was bigger than the one in the Guinness book of records, but I got to see it, and was inspired to build a big tree on the beach, made of shells! Hobbes was hoping it would make Calvin’s day 🙂