Christmas in Flip Flops
I have a confession to make. As much as I love this time of year with its Christmas music and festive lights, I’m finding it hard to get into the Christmas spirit. I could be wrong, but it just might be because it’s ninety degrees outside and I’m in shorts and flip flops. Okay, maybe not shorts because anyone who knows me knows I don’t wear shorts, but I do wear flip flops. Well, I do sometimes. Sometimes I just skip the shoes altogether. It’s so hot, I’d skip the pants, as well, but I never know when the kids are going to come barging through the door followed by their giggling friends. That’s another post, however. The point is it’s hot. Very hot.
I suppose that comes from living in an area where we decorate our palm trees. Where others go snowboarding and build snowmen, we go to the beach and play shirtless volleyball. The children don’t have to wait for the spring thaw to ride their new bikes. They’re already out there tearing up the streets. The house is closed up, but the heat isn’t on. The air is, instead. As a matter of fact, last Christmas I turned the thermostat down to 65 just so I could feel the chill that many associate with the holiday season. Only then could I enjoy my hot chocolate without sweating into the mug.
I know there are places all over the world that celebrate Christmas in sweltering heat, but here in America we’re brainwashed into believing that unless it’s a white Christmas it isn’t really Christmas, at all. This holiday requires snow falling and fire places roaring. We had a fireplace in our previous house. We maybe used it three times and again it was necessary to lower the thermostat.
At Christmas, you visit relatives while bundled up in heavy coats, furry mittens and long scarves, because if you don’t you get frost bite. Where I live, the house is usually open with windows up and screen doors keeping the bugs out. Once in awhile we get lucky and need a light sweater or wind breaker, but for the most part, the weather calls for shorts and flip flops. For the majority of the year, I am quite all right with that. However, at Christmas I want to be snowed in.
It’s funny how our perceptions can alter how we feel about things. Every year I hear the same thing. Quite often, I even say it myself. “It’s too hot to feel like Christmas.” It’s because no one ever made a Christmas show about Scratchy, the Sandman. No. It’s Frosty who needs saved by Santa and it’s the heat of a green house that almost reduces him to two pieces of coal and a carrot. We’ve been sold a bill of goods and I bought it full price as did many of my friends. Without the icy white stuff on the ground it just doesn’t feel like Christmas, and Florida never gets the snow, only erosion from the ocean.
But it’s not the weather that makes it feel like Christmas. It’s not the presents or lights, either, even though I go all out in the decorating arena. It looks like Christmas, but even if those were gone it could still feel like the merriest time of year as long as my family were around me. That’s what makes it feel like Christmas. The children are in the house, laughing and teasing, sharing stories and punching each other in the arm. Dyl is riding Chad’s back saying, “Go horsey,” the middle siblings are huddled around a table outside, laughing and smoking, and Nathan and Christina are huddled around each other. The girls are sharing ideas and stories as well as dreams of the coming year and my calendar is being filled up without me even knowing it. Of course, I’m on the porch with a cigar and a fresh mug of coffee, absorbing it all for the future memories I’ll need to survive that old folks home the kids are going to stick me in. And yes, I’m wearing my flip flops.
It doesn’t matter if I’m bundled up in full winter attire or dressed down in board shorts and nothing else, hitting the beach, Christmas is Christmas because of the family that surrounds me. Without them, it wouldn’t feel like the holidays. I won’t have a white Christmas this year. I’ll have to settle for watching Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye sing about it. However, I will have a family Christmas and that’s even better.
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