One of the biggest adjustments to living in Florida has been the celebrating of the Christmas Season. It was one of the things we never even thought about, as we planned our exodus from the cold of Pennsylvania.

Christmas has always been a big deal in our family. In fact, we even closed our business between Christmas and New Years, so we could have lots of time for family and friends. We did all of the normal things northern residents do, trudged out in the snow to go shopping, endured the cold while stringing up the lights on the house and if we were lucky, watched the snow fall on Christmas Eve.

We still enjoy Christmas, but putting lights around the palm tree with the temperatures in the 80s, is just not the same. Don’t get me wrong; I still love Florida living, but every once in awhile I miss a bit of the Pennsylvania cold.

That only lasts until I remember sliding on an icy PA road, hoping I was not going to crash into that nice Nativity in someone’s front yard. Or the times we hoped we could drive up a steep hill, to visit friends; then worrying about when we had to leave, before the snow got too deep. Ah, the joys of northern living!

Lots of things are the same here:

Pine trees are trucked in from up north and sold in red and white tents along the roads. The Salvation Army volunteers ring bells and take donations. Shoppers hustle through the malls and stores spending more than necessary. But, these things are all done while we are wearing shorts and flip flops.  Just another day in Paradise!

There are some advantages to Christmas in Florida. We can grow poinsettia and amaryllis plants in our backyards. The roads here are, for the most part, straight, flat and dry; visiting friends is much less stressful. We have no need for bulky coats or scarves, but many women don knee high boots as soon as the temperature dips below 70. (I never will understand the fairer sex.)

Some folks turn the air conditioning down as far as it will go, to get the house cool enough to light a fire in the fireplace. (The local grocery stores carry firewood.) Others go all out with lights and decorations all around the house, the same as up north. Cookies are baked, hams and turkeys are roasted, and families manage to connect, even if it is across the phone and internet lines. Christmas is still special no matter where you are.

So, to all those contemplating joining us in the Sunshine State, come on down, we do not regret our move. You will soon make new friends, start new traditions and enjoy the Holidays in a new way.


FOG sez: Merry Christmas to All.


I sure don’t chop firewood; I load the fireplace DVR in the player, turn on the TV, grab a glass of eggnog and soon doze off.