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Florida doesn’t do anything by the book -- that includes celebrating the holidays. So this season, WUSF is extolling all the ways to enjoy the holidays with a Florida twist... and we want your input.Tell us about your Florida holiday tradition. Does your family take part in a lighted boat parade, lace up for a jingle bell run or spend New Year’s Eve making sand sculptures?Then there are the decorations. Show us your seashell ornaments, palm trees wrapped in lights and flamingoes in Santa hats.We want your recipes, too. Do you dress your gingerbread men in Bermuda shorts or dip your latkes in Key lime jelly?And how to do show out-of-town guests a good time in the warm weather? Do you take them caroling down the beach or spend all eight nights of Hanukkah at Disney?Get creative. Share your photos, videos, recipes, tweets, memories, short essays and anything else that would make us say, “That’s so Florida!”Your submission might end up on wusfnews.org/floridaholidays... or even on the radio.Here are some ways to join the fun:Post a photo or short story on our wall at Facebook.com/WUSF.Send a tweet to @WUSF with the hashtag #floridaholidays.Leave a phone message for WUSF reporter/producer Dalia Colón at (813) 974-8636.Email Dalia at daliacolon@wusf.org.We’ll collect your submissions through Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. Check this blog daily for new content, and listen WUSF 89.7 through the end of the year to hear how your fellow Floridians celebrate the season.

Florida Holidays: Sunny Jim's Christmas Song

Sunny Jim.jpg
Courtesy of James White

Some folks put a Florida twist on a classic holiday song. Then there's James "Sunny Jim" White of Osprey. The professional singer/songwriter recorded his own original Christmas carol a few years ago, as he explained in an email to WUSF:

"It's kind of special to me, as I recorded that with my then 10 year old twin daughters singing the 'angel' parts," White wrote.

"We lived in the Cayman Islands for 12 years. I was the entertainer at the Hyatt Regency there. When we moved to Florida in 2001, we felt right at home. I have lots of fans from 'the frozen North' (anywhere north of Tallahassee!) and this was kind of a jab at them having to deal with harsh winters, but in a loving way!"

All together now:

There’s a chill now in the air here in Florida
It must be close to 68 degrees
But I can still hear sleigh bells jingling across the orange groves
And ringing through the tall palm trees.
All the good boys and good girls here are dreaming
Of the toys that St. Nicholas will bring
It’s Christmas time around the world and here in Florida
You can almost hear the Christmas angels sing.
It will soon be Christmas Day here in Florida
Across the Everglades and Sarasota Bay
There won’t be snow in Pensacola or ice down in Daytona
There’ll be bikinis in the Keys still every day.
You can see such Christmas magic in Orlando
You won’t find children there dressed up like Eskimos
They’ll be wearing shorts and tee shirts
Running barefoot in the sand
Don’t forget to put the sunblock on your nose
Or you’ll look just like Rudolph.
It will soon be Christmas Day here in Florida
From Miami to St. Augustine you’ll hear
Those old familiar carols, there won’t be much steaming chocolate
You’ll find lots of ice cold sodas and beer.
Alligators, raccoon, deer and herons
Make a Christmas Day parade Florida-style
When I see the tarpon jumping in the mangroves
I  think of all the snow up North and I just have to have a smile.
So meet me on the back porch ‘neath the mistletoe
Where the Christmas lights glow softly through the screen
We can cuddle up together and rock slowly in the hammock
And be glad we’re spending Christmas
It’s so nice to spend the Christmas
Warm and merry Christmas here in Florida again.

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