It’s a dark and dreary night. The sky is black with rain clouds and the wind is whipping the branches outside my window into a frenzy of tap, tap, tapping. But that can’t be right! It’s 7:27 in the morning, ten days before Christmas and all should be shiny and bright! If I look out my window to the right, I can see the neighbors-across-the-street’s tree blinking through their front bay window. If I look to the left, I can see a blow-up Santa surrounded by colorful lights being batted around by the wind. So, all is shiny and bright through the storm. Well, shiny, anyway, and slick with rain.
Christmas in Florida is just not the same as Christmas in Maryland or Ohio or New Mexico. There’s no snow (I miss snow!) or sparkling ice or icicles (I miss icicles!). The temperature dipped down into the low seventies this past week (brrr) but besides the pine cone wreath on the front door and the neighbors’ lights reflecting off the rain puddles in the street, nothing feels Christmasy this year.
I’m tempted to buy a can or two of snow and frost the windows just for fun. Or paint my front door bright red. Or dress my dogs in ugly Santa sweaters or hats with jingle bells. (That might work for Sophie but the other two would put up a fight, I’m sure. They’re pretty sensitive when it comes to their dignity.)
Shopping doesn’t put me in the Christmas mood either. The stores are crowded and the pickings are slim when it comes to buying woolly sweaters and socks, gloves, and mittens, and sheep skin coats and hats. Most stores simply don’t carry them, which is sensible I suppose since the big sellers seem to be Hawaiian shirts with Santa under palm trees on them and red and green beach umbrellas. This is a tourist town, I keep reminding myself, filled with people desperate to get away from the wintery things I miss. Maybe next year is my mantra now. Maybe next year I will roll in snow and freeze my butt off. Maybe next year I’ll return to one of my old haunts and get snowed in. Maybe next year!
This year, I will listen for the jingle of sleigh bells on the radio; I will wait for the tingles that come with watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the hundredth time; I will be thankful for the correct diagnosis of shingles, take my medications, and think of my red itchy patches of skin as organic holiday decorations; and I will think of Tiny Tim and his message of hope:
God bless us, every one!