Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas and cactus

Since this is our first holiday season in Arizona, we were wondering what it would be like.

No snow. No icicles. No Parkas. No winter boots, mufflers, and fleece-lined mittens. Surely it would be so different.

Well, we've discovered it is....and it isn't.

People are out decorating their houses in grand style. Icicle lights, twinkle lights, wire reindeer, Santas, angels and snowmen, all lit up at dusk. The evening news on television features houses not to be missed when you're out and about at night looking for dazzling holiday light displays.

Malls are decorated with giant Christmas trees. Holiday music is playing everywhere from grocery stores to department stores to post offices. Shopping specials are offered everywhere.

Eggnog is on the grocery store shelves, along with red and green sprinkles for cookies, candied fruits, pecans, specialty bread mixes and holiday cookie cutters in star, reindeer, gingerbread men and tree shapes.

Toy drives are being held. The Nutcracker Suite ballet is performing at the Mesa Arts Center. Holiday baking is going on in kitchens everywhere.

Just like home in Minne-snow-ta.

Except the twinkle lights are wrapped around palm trees. Wreaths are draped around Saguaro cactus plants. Holiday shopping is done in short sleeves and Capri pants. Christmas trees are all artificial. Outdoor decorating is done leisurely, with bare hands.

Neighbors are greeting one another stringing outdoor lights, without frost coming out of their mouths. Baking is done with patio doors open so all the aromas drift into your house, providing inspiration to get going yourself.

On our block, each house has a wooden Santa standing in front. So when you drive down the street, you are greeted by twenty Santas waving at you.

This is our own Santa.
And our snowman sits in our rock alongside our home.

So you see why Christmas in Arizona is at once the same and then again different than Christmas in Minnesota.

It is still the same special, magical time of year when spirits are kinder and gentler, and where the birth of the Newborn Babe of Bethlehem is celebrated.

Let it begin. Both here in Arizona, and wherever this season finds you.