Christmas isn’t all about snowy wonderlands and sunset at 3pm - sometimes a tropical festive period is much better!
With my grandparents living in Florida my whole life, I grew up spending most Christmas Eves on the beach, and the festive season surrounded by twinkling palm trees and the odd iguana. When we spent Christmas in Scotland, with the cold and dark nights we might associate with Christmas it was lovely, but a little odd. To me, I felt festive in the tropics, and America really knows how to do Christmas!
In all honesty, I have felt like I was missing out on the traditional Scottish Christmas if I knew I was missing a beautiful, white Christmas. But my friends back home kept me posted that, as expected, it was pouring. The dark, cosy nights are festive to most, but also a little depressing, and it was nice to break them up with some much needed sunshine given I was in Glasgow the rest of the year. My last few Christmases have been here, and I do see the silver lining of the cold and dark through hot chocolates, cosy jumpers, and all things festive, but I do miss Christmas in the sunshine.
Most of us won’t be travelling away this Christmas, but if you can another year, go for it! The biggest problem my family had was explaining that Santa couldn’t leave us a bike to get home on the plane, and that he could, in fact, find us and get into my Gran’s apartment. Especially if you are a little older, it is a great time for a holiday. It will be quieter, breaks up the bleak Scottish winter, and as long as you are with whoever you want to spend the holidays with, go for it! It was also nice, because we were able to celebrate Hanukkah in the States, which is a lot easier here, and we enjoy those traditions at home still.
In Florida at least, it certainly still felt festive. Our neighbours went all out on decorations, with gingerbread houses and snowmen in the lawns, and lights everywhere you look. The bright, colourful American way of decorating is so fun to me, and at home we prefer gold, red and tartan decorations which feels more fitting and cosy. My Gran kept her tree up year round, and honestly no matter what time of year we went, it still felt festive to an extent. Every family celebrates the holidays in their own way. Similarly, every country celebrates their holidays differently, and whether hot or cold, Christian or not, there are fun traditions and new ways to celebrate to be found.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending Christmas back home too, and I am very lucky this year to be able to spend it with my family. Christmas in Glasgow is beautiful. Cold winter walks, frosty grass, George Square all lit up, and cosy cafes are wonderful over the festive period. Spending it here with friends, flatmates, or family is amazing, and Scotland does Christmas well. If you are lucky enough to see snow, it doesn’t take much to find card-worthy landscapes. But what feels festive is often what you are used to, and it goes without saying Christmas isn’t about the climate, and very few places will guarantee you the snowy wonderland we may expect.
Christmas in a hot country can be just as magical, festive and fun as anywhere else. However you celebrate this year will be a little different from usual, and I encourage you to spend your Christmas however you want from now on. Go on holiday, spend it with friends, flatmates or family, spend it at home, or wherever feels like home. Christmas is a holiday where we are all expected to spend it a certain way, but most people’s Christmas doesn’t look like the cover of a card, so just enjoy it, and if that involves spending it on the beach, that sounds great to me.
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