Today, as my husband and I spend our third Christmas here in Sun City Center, we realized decorating the construction zone that’s our condo was a fool’s errand. It would have been like putting lipstick on a pig.
So how do you get into the holiday spirit when it’s still in the upper 70s and all you can do is put a wreath on your front door? You get creative in a big way!
Nothing gets me in the spirit of the season more than driving through the neighborhoods and looking at all the yards and homes lit up with twinkling lights. It was a family tradition every year for all of us to pile in the car and drive around town on Christmas Eve, in awe of the various wonderlands we passed. There were deer and snowmen, Nativity scenes and candy canes, elves and Santas. As a child, it was magical.
As an adult, it’s nostalgic. Yes, it’s a pain and a lot of work to haul all of the decorations out of storage, climb the ladder, inflate the snow globe, rig the lights and make sure the wise men don’t fall over. But it’s so worth the effort. Even if all you can do is hang a wreath on your door like we did, it’s a sign to all you share the importance of the season. And yes, I still drove around last night and stared in awe at all the lights.
I still can’t get into the snow flakes and sleds as my holiday theme. When it’s balmy and sunny outside, I’m thinking of dolphins pulling the sleigh and pink flamingos instead of reindeer. For our snowbirds, I get that they’re trying to make it look like up North. But for us year-rounders who came here to get away from that scene, I want Santa in shorts – and palm trees instead of Frasier firs.
So, I took all this nostalgic energy and decorated the chamber instead of my home. The tree has birds and seashells on it, there’s no fake snow on the wreaths and there’s nary a snowman in sight. It’s heaven!
No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, it’s not important whether it’s a Santa or a menorah in your yard. It’s the spirit of the season. It’s friends and family being in your heart, if not around your dinner table. It’s sharing your goodwill and best wishes with neighbors and strangers alike. It’s thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves and actually doing something to make their holidays better.
So here’s a holiday wish for you from the staff and volunteers at your chamber of commerce. May your heart be open to love and good wishes. May you celebrate and honor the season in a way that speaks to you. And may you and yours be healthy and safe. Merry Christmas!
Dana Dittmar is the executive director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.