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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: 'A Pumpkin Pie Flew Past My Head'


The subject line of Peggy Bode's email pretty much says it all: "That's so Florida." So without further ado, here's the note we received from the Anna Maria Island resident as part of our Florida Holidays project:

Our family tradition was to go camping every Christmas at various places in Florida. It was always a challenge to create a traditional Christmas dinner at a campground, so we often resorted to unconventional holiday fare such as hot dogs and potato chips. However, I always baked a couple of pumpkin pies to take with us so we at least we would have one Christmas standard available to remind us of holidays past. 

We camped in a conversion van for many years. One Christmas more than 20 years ago, we arrived at the campground after dark and started setting up camp. Our van doors were open because we needed access to our camping gear as we settled into our site. 

I had just grabbed some supplies from the van to place on the picnic table and was walking back to the van when, just as I got to the sliding van door, a pumpkin pie flew past my head, and then another one landed at my feet. 

I cried out in dismay and shock as I saw my hours of rolling, cutting and mixing the perfect pumpkin pie disappear into the dark woods. 

Then to my surprise, the pies were followed by a raccoon as big as a large dog.  He slowly climbed down out of the van, looked up at me and gave me a very perturbed look as if I had taken his pies! He ambled off into the trees and dragged one of the pies with him. 

I was so upset that I ran off into the woods after him, not knowing what I’d do when I caught up with him.

Needless to say, Christmas wasn’t the same that year without the pies. But the hot dogs and potato chips kept us in the holiday spirit.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.
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