SAN DIEGO, Dec. 22, 2015 — As I grew up in San Diego, Christmas was always a wonderful experience.
The concept of a white Christmas is not entirely lost on those who live in warm climates. But in sunny San Diego, the experience of dashing through the snow is a completely foreign one.
Even though December is the coolest month of the year in San Diego, the average temperature is still in the upper 60s. Highs of 75 degrees or more are not uncommon during Christmas week.
The all time record: 88 degrees!
Average rainfall is just one and a half inches for the whole month. Local attractions do their best to simulate a white Christmas by bringing out the snow machines and creating artificial snow to delight California children.
But how could Santa Claus possibly deliver so many presents when it never snowed in San Diego?
When I was 5 years old, spending a San Diego-style Christmas holiday with aunts, cousins, grandparents and the entire family was a wonderfully joyful time.
While peering out of a large picture window on Christmas Eve, anxious for Santa’s arrival, I asked Dad the fearful question, “How can Santa Claus deliver all the gifts to children in San Diego in his reindeer-driven sleigh if there is no snow?”
While taking his time to carefully answer this thoughtful question, Dad answered: “Honey, out here Santa arrives by helicopter!”
Santa Claus arrived without a hitch, and exciting gifts were waiting to be opened the very next morning.
Next year, at the age of 6, I remembered the lesson about Santa’s use of a helicopter to deliver gifts to San Diego children.
Hiding behind a large, overstuffed chair on Christmas Eve night, awaiting Santa Claus’ arrival seemed like a perfect idea.
The hot chocolate and homemade cookies were awaiting Santa on the dining room table.
Spying, however, was for naught. Before Santa’s helicopter arrival, my spying was quickly interrupted by parents who ushered their curious daughter safely back to bed.
The next morning, Christmas Day, was especially exciting.
Gifts of a doctor’s kit and a model kitchen, complete with cookware, were among the favorites.
The doctor’s kit, however, was by far the most appreciated, complete with a plastic stethoscope, candy pills, bandages and a variety of patient-care tools. It was fun and exciting pretending to be a nurse. Cousins were all-too-willing patients as that afternoon when they came for Christmas Day dinner.
As beloved a gift as the doctor’s bag was, the greatest gift was being blessed to have large family gatherings, with grandparents, great-grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins to share the holiday experience.
It was natural to assume that everyone else’s experience was the same. It was simply not possible to fathom life without them or the reality that slowly but surely, life would change irrevocably over the coming years.
The memories of Christmases past have now become even more precious.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to be surrounded by loving family, whether borne of blood or choice, at the holidays.
The holidays can be a lonely time, and it is incumbent upon each of us to do what we can to change this by paying forward the gift of time and fellowship that our families have lovingly given so many of us.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at LifeCycles!
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
Copyright © 2015 by At Your Home Familycare
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