I get reminders from friends on Facebook that there are only five Fridays until Christmas.
I haven’t started my shopping yet, even though I am usually super organized, my list made, and catalogue pages earmarked long before December. By now I have my wrapping paper sorted, my decorations cleaned and ready to put up, and my silverware polished.
But it’s hard to get excited about Christmas when it’s 77 degrees outside or worse, when it’s 87.
We’re living in Las Vegas while Capt. Mark completes the physical therapy necessitated by his stroke. While it seems cold to natives here, it is quite warm to us. But we’ve been even warmer.
One Christmas, we spent most of December in Florida on our boat, with a road trip back to California planned for the third week of the month. I shopped for relatives who needed gifts mailed to them before we left and my visit to the local mall was a strange experience. The sky was bright, the temperature in the high 80s and everyone was in shorts.
Is it really December?
The stores were decorated in snow scenes with traditional red-suited Santas and tall fir trees with colored ornaments and fake icicles. The Mall Santa had his sleigh and reindeer with giant candy canes framing a runner leading up to his lap. Carolers in hats and scarves sang Jingle Bells while the air conditioning blasted us.
“Why can’t I get into the spirit,” I asked myself. “Could it be all these palm trees, the beach, and people running around in bathing suits? Could it be the giant plastic snow globes filled with fake snow and winter scenes next to sidewalks so hot they burned your bare feet?
I had a similar surreal experience decades ago in Hawaii. I was the one running around in a bathing suit while singing Frosty the Snowman piped in as background music out by the hotel pool. Yup, it was December.
When my kids were little in Southern California—usually the weather was quite nice in December—we’d head over to Disneyland on Christmas Eve to: 1. Get into the Christmas spirit with gorgeous decorations everywhere on Main Street, and 2. To calm the little munchkins down who were climbing the walls with excitement over Santa. In those days, it didn’t cost a fraction of what it does today.
We’ll be flying to Northern California for the holidays and I’ll have a chance to shop. But this year, I will not be able to tease Capt. Mark—a traditional Christmas Eve shopper—because I might be in downtown Sonoma finishing my own shopping then.
At least there it won’t feel like summer.