‘tis the Sea-son!

lee-ann-snow-manWhether it feels like it or not.

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

They say that you are supposed to “fake it ’till you make it,” which I have decided we have been doing for too many winters now. I feel like every year we have been trying to create a version of the Christmas holidays that doesn’t really exist here in Dixie—with everything blanketed in a snowy white winter wonderland, a roaring fire in the fireplace and fresh greenery and trees filling up the house with the wonderful fragrance of evergreen. (If anyone figures out how to keep your greenery from becoming brown and brittle and feeling like a thousand little needles stabbing into you every time you accidentally brush up against it, please let me know. Now I know why they are called pine “needles”-— ouch!)  It’s so much trouble constantly sweeping up those piles of needles that collect by the end of ever day, I have considered faking that, too.

Every year on November 1st as I am hauling the decaying Jack-O-Lantern to the trash I put on my favorite Christmas CD and begin to get myself into the holiday mood. (Yes, I still have my collection of Christmas CD’s).

Several years ago I found that if I waited until after Thanksgiving to begin listening to Christmas music, it all seemed to be over before I even found my Christmas Spirit. If I gradually incorporate the holidays it makes it seem like they lasts longer-—kind of like unwrapping a gift stretches out the anticipation so much more than it just being handed to you.

So, I start out with the music, but not hard core Christmas carols; I play jazzy versions of “The Christmas Song” about chestnuts roasting on an open fire and “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” and “Baby, it’s Cold Outside,” just an introduction to the season, even though I still have all of my summer clothes hanging in my closet. After Thanksgiving we play “O’ Holy Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and then on Christmas Day we are listening to the Christmas blues with James Brown and B.B. King.

Then there are the wonderful fragrant smells of Christmas that conjure up holiday memories and light the desire for baking cookies. I light my Pumpkin Spice candles all through October and November, but on Dec. 1 I light up my Evergreen Spruce holiday candles and the house smells just like a live Christmas tree! So much so that I could put up an artificial tree and no one would ever know that we were faking it. In fact, to achieve the picture perfect Christmas season that we are always being sold, it actually takes a lot of faking it.

For instance, in order to have a fake wintery day I have to buy fake plastic icicles and a spray can of snow to spray my windows to create the full effect of fake frosted window panes, all  before leaving for some Christmas shopping that involves sweating to death in stores all trying to sell me clothes for a fake winter we are having. I’m a soggy mess after squeezing through all the racks of sweaters and coats and turtleneck dresses and scarves and gloves and boots that I might need in early March—when we finally get a cold snap—but that I certainly do not need in December when it’s only 68 degrees outside. I can’t wait to get in the car and turn the air up full blast.

In fact, nothing feels quite as much like the holidays as when we turn the air conditioner down low and get it cold enough to have a fire in the fireplace. That really feels like Christmastime.

And all those hot holiday drinks that everyone wants to serve—hot chocolate, warm apple-spiced apple cider and mulled wine, and all those steaming Starbucks drinks? Whenever I am drinking one of those I feel myself melting like a snowman in Alabama at Christmastime. Every year I try to drink hot chocolate watching the Christmas parade but I always end up pouring it over a cup of ice. Just give me the year ’round Southern drink of iced tea and help me make it through the holidays before I turn into a puddle.

This year I’ve decided that enough is enough with trying to pretend we have a Currier and Ives Christmas. We need to rewrite how we think of celebrating the season. So, this year we are going to go with the flow and spend it at the beach. We will be having a white Christmas, but instead of fake snow, it will be real white sand. No sweltering Christmas sweaters or boots, just t-shirts and bare feet. We are celebrating Christmas in The South authentically with the real sights and sounds and smells of the sea-son; the Gulf, the smell of the water, the white sandy beach. We’ll put on Jimmy Buffett’s Christmas album and drink Long Island Iced Teas as we watch the stars twinkle over the water. We’ll be celebrating the real meaning and the real season of Christmas surrounded by the real love of family. (Well, after several days together there might be a little bit of faking that too—ha!) I’ll let you know how it turns out. Here’s wishing you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a very Cool Yule! 

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