While my parents prepare for a snow covered Christmas, I experience a white Christmas for very different reasons. My Christmas is white mostly because I have no tan, and as it turns out it is summer here. And while last year I was in Brazil for Christmas, so it’s been a while since I’ve had a traditional, bundle up with hot chocolate holidays, it still shocks me a little walking into stores at Christmas time and running into large bathing-suit displays.
In communication theory we talk a lot about the connection between meanings in our minds. For me, Christmas is very closely linked to cold weather, winter jackets, snow, warm fireplaces, fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, hot soup, and the not so fun aspects of falling on ice on the way to the car, that level of dried salt you always get at the bottom of your pants, when your face goes numb from the cold because you had to park so far away from the store, etc. So because of this, I have a hard time connecting Christmas as I know it to beach weather.
And while I could get used to changes of weather, other essential “Christmas like” elements are missing, such as my family. How is it supposed to be Christmas without my mom making Turkey Legs Christmas Eve, opening pajamas Christmas Eve, lining up presents with my sister, waking up and wandering around aimlessly with my siblings under mom and dad are finally ready to open presents, trading candy with my siblings while laughing about mom’s flavor choices of bubble-tape, dad’s omelets and mom’s Christmas cereal, helping mom decipher (after inventing and forgetting) her own gift wrapping code, rushing off to listen to my new Adventures in Odyssey albums while my sister and brother curl up with their newest books? Once all that is gone, what’s left?
Now in all fairness, it has been many years since Christmas was “normal” and it will probably be several years before I have a stable enough life that I start my own Christmas traditions. Until then I get to embrace whatever traditions come my way. Bring on this year’s Christmas day tradition of pigging out on mangos while I have a classic movie marathon in my pajamas. But Christmas Eve I’m still making jello cookies.