A LifeCycles Tradition: Memories of Christmas in San Diego
SAN DIEGO — Christmas was always a wonderful experience growing up in San Diego, California. But Christmas in San Diego was never a holiday draped in a dense coat of newly fallen snow.
NO WHITE CHRISTMAS IN SAN DIEGO
The concept of a white Christmas is not entirely lost on those who live in warm climates. However, in sunny San Diego, the experience of dashing through the snow is completely foreign.
Even though December is the coldest month of the year in San Diego, the average is still in the high 60s. Temperatures of 75 degrees or more are not uncommon during Christmas week. The all-time record: 88 degrees!
The average rainfall is just one and a half inches for the whole month. Local attractions do their best, bringing out the snow machines and creating artificial snow to delight California children. Which is as close as the children get to a white Christmas in San Diego.
NO SNOW AND HEAVY TRAFFIC. HOW WILL SANTA MAKE IT TO SAN DIEGO?
At five years old, spending a San Diego-style Christmas holiday with aunts, cousins, grandparents and the entire family proved an especially joyful experience.
While peering out at a large picture window on Christmas Eve night, and waiting anxiously for Santa’s arrival, I asked Dad a fear-gripped question.
“How can Santa Claus deliver all the gifts to children in San Diego in his reindeer-driven sleigh if there is no snow?”
Dad carefully answered this thoughtful query.
“Honey, out here Santa arrives by helicopter!”
Santa Claus arrived without a hitch, and delightful gifts were waiting
Next year, at the age of six, the lesson I’d learned the previous year about Santa’s use of a modern Christmastime vehicle to deliver gifts to San Diego area children remained persistently in mind. As I hid behind a large, overstuffed chair on Christmas Eve night, awaiting Santa Claus’ helicopter arrival seemed just like a perfect idea to verify this truth.
The hot chocolate and homemade cookies already awaited Santa on the dining room table.
But my spying, however, was for naught. Before Santa’s helicopter arrival, my parents soon interrupted my sleuthing. Subsequently, they ushered their curious daughter safely back to bed.
Nevertheless, next morning, Christmas Day proved especially exciting. Gifts of a doctor’s kit to a model kitchen complete with cookware were among my favorites.
The doctor’s kit, however, was by far the most appreciated. It came complete with a plastic stethoscope, candy pills, bandages and a variety of patient-care tools. I had fun excitingly pretending to be a nurse to my cousins. They cousins were all-to-willing patients when they arrived for Christmas Day dinner.
As beloved a gift as the doctor’s bag was, the greatest gift year was the blessing of large family gatherings with great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. All arrived to enjoy Christmas in San Diego and share the holiday experience.
Kindness: The true gift of Christmas
It was natural for me to assume everyone else’s experience was the same. It was simply not possible for me to fathom life without my extended family. Nor could I anticipate the reality that, slowly but surely, life would change for us all over the years.
The memories of those Christmases past gradually grew even more precious. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be surrounded by loving family as I, whether of blood or choice.
To the contrary, sometimes the holidays can be a lonely time. So it’s important for each of us to do what we can to change this through paying forward the gift of time and fellowship towards others. It’s like passing on the precious gift our families lovingly gave to us.
I have been fortunate to have had a loving family surrounding me during the holidays. But time is fleeting, which is true for us all. My mother passed away just this December. But I am still blessed possess those cherished memories of Christmases past that will continue to live on.
As the 2019 edition of Christmas in San Diego approaches, here’s wishing you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at LifeCycles.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
— Headline image: Family image, courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate. All rights reserved.