What the Holidays are like in Florida

When most people think about the holiday season, they think about drinking hot cocoa, sitting by the fire, and playing in the snow. However, in Florida, things are done quite differently. For twenty years, I spent almost every Thanksgiving and every Christmas in the state of Florida and learned that nearly every Christmas song and movie was a straight-up lie... at least for us Floridians.

All of my friends and I grew up without snow. I had never even heard of picking apples and didn’t realize that most people get their pumpkins from a patch, not a grocery store. All of these run of the mill fall and holiday traditions people grew up with, for the most part, completely dumbfounded me. While most people find this to be sad, growing up in the sunshine state has given me a unique twist on what the holidays mean to me. 

First off, in Florida, temperatures rarely go below 65 degrees during that time of year, so everyone goes to the beach during the holidays, or if you want some extra cheer, you can go see the epic lights at Disney World and celebrate with Mickey, without freezing. 

What we lack in snow, we make up in lights. Everyone decorates from putting lights up on palm trees to decking out their boats in full out the holiday cheer. There is even a town in south Florida that celebrates Christmas all year long. 

Growing up, I didn’t have turkey, ham, or any of the stereotypical foods you eat on Christmas eve. Instead, my dad and I would drive across the state to pick up stone crabs for our family to eat. Most of my friends didn’t eat pumpkin or pecan pie on Thanksgiving. Instead, they would have key lime or lemon meringue.

As a kid, I was envious of those who had snow and holidays as they show in the movies. However, I have now realized that while growing up having my holidays in Florida was quite unique, despite its quirkiness, I wouldn’t change a thing.