I have the good fortune (or misfortune, depending on how you view winter weather) to live where Christmas most often looks the way it’s depicted on Christmas cards. There is snow, of course, sometimes heaps of it, sometimes just enough to turn the world a lovely white. The trees are frosted. Colored lights glow under snow-draped bushes, giving nighttime an ethereal quality. Around almost every corner are decorations, from the traditional Santa to the latest holiday cartoon character (Olaf is still popular, I noticed today). The local Rotary runs a wonderful light and music show in the park. Our town is host to horse-drawn sleigh rides on selected evenings, and there’s a holiday parade to welcome Santa.
In short, it’s definitely Christmas country. And I sort of take it for granted that Christmas looks this way for everyone. Except I know very well it doesn’t. Great swaths of our country don’t have or even expect a white Christmas.
I lived in West Texas for a couple of years and Christmas looked very different there. Instead of evergreen boughs, yards were decorated with silver, green, and gold spray-painted tumbleweeds tied up in bunches. At night, instead of electric lights, luminaries lined driveways and sidewalks, giving the darkness a flickering, fantasy glow. The Christmas parade rode down perfectly clear streets, and Santa didn’t need an overcoat. I certainly didn’t need mittens, muffler and boots to watch it.
I don’t remember being too disconcerted by my couple of Christmases without snow, without all the traditional—at least according to the card company—trappings of the season. I still got presents. We still had a tree.
Back up here in Christmas country it’s easy to forget the season looks very different for a good share of the world. When we’re deep in a blizzard, it’s hard to imagine some of those people in the other part of the world are actually longing for a Christmas like ours. We’d happily ship some of our snow and cold anywhere that would take it. Hey, we’ll share! If only we could.
But we can’t, and we really don’t need to. Christmas is what we make it, wherever we are and with whatever we have. Christmas is the people we share it with, not the weather or the card-company trappings. It’s your Christmas to enjoy, and I hope you all do so. Best wishes for the season!