Here's an email we received from St. Petersburg resident Dorothy "Dee" Sabean as part of our Florida Holidays project:
Every Christmas tradition has a beginning, and I am writing about one such beginning this very season.
I was born and bred in Massachusetts, accustomed to frigid winter walks to view the manger on the public square, singing Christmas carols in the biting cold, lolling by a roaring fire, unwrapping Christmas footie pajamas with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.
Fast-forward to Florida some 40 years later, and my husband and I were at a loss. Palm trees? Santa in Bermuda shorts? Such a sea-change, it was hard to bear!
As our Florida Christmases progressed, we grew to appreciate the fact that this is also the best possible weather season. Talk about gifts! I can walk from my car to the shopping mall and not experience blue fingers and toes?
So string lights on the palm trees. Surely, Jesus was born in the land of dates! Instead of that hot cocoa, how about a peppermint candy-cane martini? Slowly, we added more and more un-New England ideas to our holiday each year.
This year, I discovered the purest and simplest celebration of all. With the sad and sobering events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, my thoughts and prayers went to all of the families of those deceased and wounded. Any kind of celebration, Christmas included, hit a minor note.