With Thanksgiving 2015 in the books, I am already in the Christmas mood! Who else is excited for leftover turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, trimming the tree, and wrapping presents? Let me see you raise your hands!
As I mentioned in my previous post about Deck the Palms, it can be difficult to muster up holiday cheer in the tropics, especially for young children. Growing up as a native JUP Girl, I was disappointed each year that we were not going to have a white Christmas. This feeling was fueled by every holiday movie ever made: Home Alone and Home Alone 2 (where it rains in Miami!), The Santa Clause, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street… need I go on? It seemed that Christmas was not magical if there wasn’t snow. To add fuel to the fire, my cousin (and very best friend in the entire world) had just moved to Wisconsin and I was positively GREEN with envy that he was going to have a white, cold, crisp, and movie magical Christmas! What was a Florida girl to do?
Of course – and I’m sure my parents were thrilled – I went to the mall and asked Santa for snow for Christmas. And you know what? Santa came through! I woke up Christmas morning to find a Styrofoam cooler full of snow (shaved ice!). I had to hurry and throw snowballs before it all melted but it was the most wonderful Christmas of my childhood. And unlike Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story, I didn’t have to put on ten layers of winter clothes to play outside.
So, without snow, how exactly do we Florida natives make Christmas special? It’s much easier than you think! Here are some truly Floridian Christmas activities to make your season bright:
Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade & Celebration at Riverwalk
Saturday, December 5th, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The Plaza Down Under at Riverwalk (underneath the Indiantown Road Bridge)
This will be my first year going to watch the boat parade. Make sure to get there early to stake out your spot. The decorated boats will make their way from the North Palm Beach Marina to the Jupiter Lighthouse led by a travelling fireworks show!
Going Overboard with Christmas Lights
Let’s face it, decking out your home with thousands of lights is much easier without worrying about slipping on snow and falling off the roof. I mean, we all know how it turned out for jolly old St. Nick in The Santa Clause. Do not be surprised when every palm tree trunk in a gated community is wrapped tight with twinkle lights.
One of the best neighborhoods in Jupiter to see Christmas lights is the Jupiter Heights, located off of Donald Ross Road. Families pile their homes high with lights, sometimes including Christmas carols and blinking displays.
Building a “Sand” Man
Yes, I think every Florida child has done this once in their life. Make his body out of sand and decorate his face with shells. Corn cobb pipe and button nose optional.
Visiting “Sandi” the Sand Tree in Downtown West Palm Beach
Sandi is a relatively new addition to our local Christmas celebrations. Part of West Palm Beach’s “Sandi Land,” the 35-foot sand tree is sculpted out of more than 600 tons of sand. The lighting ceremony takes place at Clematis by Night on Thursday, December 3, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. “Sandi Land” will also feature a glow in the dark miniature golf course, an area for kids to create their own Florida snowmen (see above), and a giant aquarium.
Barbecuing Your Thanksgiving Turkey / Christmas Steaks / Holiday Dinner
This is where we Floridians get to laugh and say “We may not have a white Christmas but at least we aren’t freezing our butts off!” While the rest of America is huddled indoors with turkeys roasting in the oven, we are enjoying 75 degree sunny skies in front of the grill. Face it, in Florida at least one of your holiday meals is going to be made on the grill.
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!