Have you ever spent your holidays somewhere tropical?
We have and although is awesome to spend Christmas laying on a stretch of white sand, overlooking the big blue ocean, drinking a margarita, it’s also strange if you are used to spending it in colder climates.
In one of our trips to the Caribbean for the holidays, we took a cab to the hotel and the driver was a friendly guy. As we drove through the town at night, we chatted about the local customs and commented on the city’s decorations and Christmas trees. It dawned on me how weird it all was, and that I had never noticed or questioned certain differences (I grew up in tropical places). There are many traditions we would consider normal in the Northern Hemisphere that just do not make sense in the tropics.
Here are some that I bet you have not considered:
- Christmas or coniferous trees are no common in tropical places, so why are there any Christmas trees (mostly fake) at all in the tropical places? The same applies to garlands, mistletoe and wreaths.
- It’s the height of summer in the tropics, so Christmas movies that show kids making snow angels/snowmen or having snow fights are just weird. Most of these tropical places don’t have snow at all, EVER, yet most people do watch Christmas movies around this time of the year.
- Good Ol’ Saint Nick is definitely caucasian throughout history right? And we teach kids all over the world that he is old, has blue eyes and a long white beard. So how do children reconcile that story with the Santa Clauses they see at their local malls? Santa is all of a sudden tanned, has brown eyes and brown hair? Do the kids stop believing in Santa much earlier? I know I did.
- It’s hot as hell, so wearing anything remotely resembling a Santa Claus costume must be hell! Santa Claus in the tropics should get a huge freaking raise!
- Most people in the tropics have never seen a reindeer, which are native to the coldest places on Earth. So what do locals think take Santa across the world?
- Do you crave pie, hot chocolate, mulled wine or eggnog in the summer? I don’t either.
- There are no chimneys for Santa Claus to use. Here is a thought from my recent visit to Brazil. How does Santa get around and deliver gifts in highrises that have security cameras, dogs and 20 feet walls? Certainly, we should be able to get a glimpse of Ol’ Saint Nick, shouldn’t we?
- There are no fireplaces for hanging stockings.
- Sometimes, there is no vegetation to hang lights on. Would you ever try to put lights on a Cactus?
- There are no cookies and milk. I think there is an unspoken age limit to those drinking milk in the tropics and that is probably around 3.
- Some places have no Turkey. Seafood instead? Sounds good to me.
- Socks and underwear in your stockings? Think speedos and bikinis instead.
The next time you spend the holidays in the tropics, ask the locals… you will be surprised about what you learn.
And if you have or currently live somewhere where it’s summer during the holidays, I would love to hear about your traditions. Heck, I would like to hear about everybody’s traditions. I am a big fan of creating new ones…in this case borrowing some!