When I imagine the winter holidays, I still think of snowmen and sleigh rides, of chestnuts roasting in a crackling fire while lovers warm up with cocoa or hot buttered rum after a long trek in the snow. Not that I’ve seen a December like this in Florida, where I’ve lived for my entire adult life.
I still miss the cold weather up north where I grew up, but I must admit there’s something to be said for spending holidays in the subtropics. When I stop to think about it, I realize we’ve made a lot of warm and fuzzy memories down here, too, but our winter trappings involve sunny, temperate days that are likely to involve water parades of boats decked out in elaborate holiday lights and entire neighborhoods full of houses whose eaves sport glittering fake icicles, giant menorahs and reindeer perched on lawns.
Of the hundred or so books and novellas I’ve written, not one has theme built around a holiday season. Only one—For Old Times’ Sake, slated for a 2012 release at Ellora’s Cave—is set in Florida and has scenes that take place during this festive time of year.
Why is this? I’ve watched my kids in their annual pageants, enjoyed open houses and holiday parties each year with my husband and our friends. I’ve enjoyed the crowds at the malls, the neighborhood baking get-togethers. I’ve gathered memories of holidays without snow and cocoa but with sing-alongs and yearly school ceremonies.
This year I’d like to wish you a wonderful, down-home holiday season, with white sand instead of snow, jet skis in place of one-horse sleighs, sun instead of frosty cold. The turkey’s the same wherever we are, as is the spirit of goodwill that abounds this time of year. Merry Christmas…Happy Hanukkah…Happy Solstice.
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