It’s that time of year again! A crisp chill is in the air, warranting sweaters and winter coats. Holiday trees glow from windows of ornately decorated houses. Snowmen in the front yard welcome guests into homes full of cheer. The holidays have arrived!
Wait a second; it can’t be this time of year… I am still walking around in short-sleeve shirts and flip flops!
When we arrived at our beautiful, tropical island home of Okinawa last year, I noticed that I had a hard time getting into the holiday spirit while it was still 70+ degrees outside. I would look out our window and see bright blue skies and sunshine, yet holiday wreaths were popping up on everyone’s doors, and the stores were playing holiday music. It seemed surreal, like my internal clock was off.
I quickly learned that we would have to adjust to celebrating our winter holidays in a climate where no true winter actually exists. To help me get in the spirit I keep up our tradition of decorating our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. I have collected ornaments that symbolize everywhere we have lived, and I enjoy getting all nostalgic as I place these mementos on our tree. This usually helps me jump start my holiday cheer. Also, no matter where we are in the world, I blast holiday music while having my annual “Bake Fest” making all of our favorite holiday treats to enjoy ourselves and share with others.
Here are some other ideas to help you get in the holiday spirit if you live in an area that doesn’t have a “winter season.”
Buy “snow in a can.” Spray your windows to mimic a snow scene. Or have your kids make paper snowflakes to hang.
Go ice skating. When else can you bust out those winter sweaters when you live in a warm climate? I have noted that many larger cities have indoor ice skating rinks that are especially popular at this time of year.
Do holiday crafts. Gather your children, grab the glue, glitter, and red and green construction paper and get crafting! Need inspiration? Check out Pinterest! This site is hopping with thousands of cheap holiday craft ideas that can easily be done with items usually already found in your home (think pinecones, burned out light bulbs and popsicle sticks).
Watch your holiday movie. If I need to get in the holiday spirit, my husband and I pop in “The Christmas Story” movie. After this classic, we finally feel like the holidays have arrived.
Jam out to holiday tunes. In the car, in your house or during your workout, blast those tunes! When you are constantly humming Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, your mind will finally register that it is the holiday season regardless of what the temperature outside may be.
Wear reindeer ears or holiday socks. Sure you may get some strange looks from your coworkers (like I did when I dressed myself as a present for our holiday party) or other shoppers in the commissary, but it will definitely spread holiday cheer, which will help you get in the spirit!
Decorate a gingerbread house. How could you not feel full of holiday cheer after attaching gum drops and sugary confections to a gingerbread house using sugary icing?
Admire the Christmas lights. No matter if you live in the North Pole or on the equator, I have noticed that people still decorate the outsides of their homes and businesses with lights and other festive displays. Here in Okinawa, there is a huge shopping area that takes Christmas lights to the extreme. When we need a dose of holiday spirit, we take a night stroll past the light covered walkways, bridges and buildings to get that magical holiday feeling.
I have learned the most important way to get in the holiday spirit no matter where you are is to keep up with your family traditions. So if your family likes to cuddle up in pajamas, drink hot cocoa and watch holiday movies on Christmas Eve, don’t let the warm climate stop you from doing that. Keep the traditions alive no matter your latitude on the globe.