Memories of Christmas in San Diego: A LifeCycles tradition

Photo courtesy of SD Dirk/flickr

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?

Photo courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate
Photo courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate

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.

Having the most glorious Christmas tree this holiday


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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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare