Every region has its own version of the Christmas season
The candy cane-melting warmth of this holiday season takes my mind back to Christmases past. I’ve lived in different places, and the weather plays a big role in memories of special times.
My thoughts turn to ice skating on a moonlit Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. The ice would make cracking noises, adding a sense of danger, even though there was no real worry of crashing into icy water, since the ice was thick enough to support cars.
Afterward, we warmed up with a cup of coffee, made with a percolator. Yes, I’m that old. Percolators, with a glass globe on top, can now be found in antique shops.
Those who have only known automatic coffee makers don’t know truly hot coffee. With a percolator, coffee could be made lava hot. It would continue to steam long after it was poured, and just holding the cup and taking sips would warm the body.
Before living in Wisconsin, I grew up in Tennessee, which did not have the deep freeze of Wisconsin, but had its own Christmas season. The trees were bare above the decorated homes, with the branches forming stark, tangled patterns against the gray sky. The air was cool and fresh, and there was a smoky smell from the wood stoves.
From Wisconsin, I traveled to Florida. When I first moved here I was so excited I convinced my dad to go swimming in the ocean on Christmas Day. I wanted to start a tradition. Dad was game, and we bravely hit the cold, bracing water. This is not impressive to a Floridian, but an accomplishment for someone who had just moved down from Tennessee. Afterward, Dad said, “I’ve got an idea. Let’s not do this again.”
With the current warm weather, swimming in December is not the challenge it once was. If you posted on Facebook that you went swimming in the ocean on Christmas Day, a friend up north would post, “Big deal, it’s 80 degrees down there.”
Casual observation tells me Earth is getting warmer, for whatever reason. I don’t think the ice in Lake Winnebago gets as thick as early as it did “back in the day,” nor is there as much need for stove wood in Tennessee, again, “in the day.”
(Side note: Someday I want to find out exactly when was “the day.”)
But I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas, other than the white foam rolling up on the beach.
I admit, the warmth can make you forget that it’s December. But the spirit of the season does not depend on the weather. I never felt I had to have snow or burning wood at Christmas. There is something very charming about lights on palm trees.
There’s Christmas past, and then there’s Christmas future. You can ask Scrooge about that.