First off, there are no “woods” in my neck of the woods. I live in SoCal. We have palm trees, citrus trees, and sand. Which can make our holidays different than in other parts of the country. Believe it or not, it can get chilly here (into the 40s and sometimes 30s on winter nights!), but it’s never chilly on Christmas. We still exchange sweaters and slippers and warm robes and flannel nightgowns, but it’s a just a given that on the 25th we’ll have a lovely warm spell and it will be in the 70s at the beach. Perfect for riding the new bike or skateboard!
I have been to even beachier places over the holidays. We went to Hawaii one year and I have a lovely photo of Son2, surfing, with Diamond Head behind him. Another year, we went to Mexico with a large family group and the kids were wowed by seeing Santa come parasailing over the ocean. Margaritas to the tune of “White Christmas” and “Jingle Bells.”
When I wrote a pair of Christmas/New Year’s books, I set them in SoCal, and tried to give the flavor of the holidays here in the land of sunshine and salt water. I set Must Love Mistletoe and Not Another New Year’s on Coronado Island, around the famous Hotel Del Coronado (in the first picture). The characters do SoCal things: bonfires on the beach, visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo, take a trip to a notorious nude beach (where they stay clothed!), watch hunky surfers change out of their wetsuits into street clothes with only the limited curtain of their shifting beach towels as cover (not that I’ve ever noticed this).
Another unique-to-watery-places traditions I’ve written about is a boat parade of lights. There’s always several Christmas parades on the water and not only have I watched them, I also rode in a boat one year. Very fun. I used it as a plot element in a novella I wrote that takes place on Christmas Eve–Out on a Limb.
Does your town/neighborhood/region have any unique holiday traditions? The Ridgways and friends made up their own. On New Year’s Eve, we go to the beach and make a bonfire of our Christmas trees. Maybe your family has something special they do too. Please share!