The holiday season is a state of mind, especially for people who celebrate Christmas where the weather’s warm. With all the cultural romanticism around a “white Christmas,” people from colder climates might think it’s hard to truly embrace that time of year in Los Angeles, while wearing flip-flops and shorts in the sun.
A winter wonderland might typically feature snowflakes, but people who are thousands of miles away from cold weather can still deck the halls and get their Christmas cheer on with warm-weather traditions. Even if you don’t live near these events, we’re betting you can find something similar near your own not-so-chilly abode or get inspired to start one.
Santa does exist, and he loves running through Orange County in December. Many Southern Californians celebrate their warm Christmas with a 5-kilometer run at the Renegade Santa Run, or another holiday run in surrounding areas (there are a lot, and many are festive). Put on your favorite costume — Santa costumes are encouraged, but non-Santa costumes are also welcome — and spend your Christmas with fitness.
In the twenty-first century, you don’t have to live in the cooler climates to enjoy the ice. Down in San Diego, the Hotel del Coronado offers Skating by the Sea, an outdoor ice rink that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and swaying palm trees. They won’t all have swaying palms trees in the background, but ice rinks that stay open year-round can be found virtually anywhere these days.
Redefining what the “holiday season” can mean, Miami residents can deck their boats with all sorts of decorations and enter them in a parade. The Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade has been stealing the Christmas spotlight there for over 20 years, recently including up to 100 boats. While the array of kid-friendly activities and fireworks at the Bayfront park viewing area are a sight to see, it’s the massive amounts of toy donations for children in the community that brings the Christmas spirit to life.
Santa’s Enchanted Forest, also in Miami, is recognized as the world’s largest holiday-themed amusement park. Open from November 1 to January 6, it features hundreds of rides and games as well as Christmas attractions such as Santa’s Mailbox. Holiday light displays and a petting zoo round out the fun.
Christmas might seem merrier when the snow is coming down, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find LED icicle lights and inflatable reindeer and Santas adorning the houses and yards of Hawaiians. In the capital on Oahu island, Honolulu City Lights is a dazzling month-long light show, and decorative displays are backed by a 50-foot tree and giant statues of Santa in shorts.
The Waikiki Beach Walk has its own rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with Holiday Mele “Seven Days Till Christmas.” Residents of Honolulu count down the hours until Christmas with an array of live music and hula performers. They also finish up their shopping, since the Beach Walk happens to be a two-level mall. While bells take over the holidays in many places, a ukulele is the instrument of choice during a Hawaiian Christmas. Mele Kalikimaka indeed.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes Santa’s Wonderland, where the holiday ambiance is taken to the next level with “snow falls” every evening during the season. Live music and hayrides embellish the 40 acres of light displays in College Station you can cruise through in your car. Visitors then hit up Santa’s Town to visit with Old St. Nick and pick up an assortment of gifts.
La Gran Tamalada offers San Antonio residents a unique eating experience as it holds make-your-own-tamales demonstrations at the Historic Market Square during Christmas time. Storybook readings and other children activities are held in Centro de Artes, making this a holiday opportunity for the entire family. However, La Gran Tamalada wouldn’t be a complete Christmas tradition without a photo with Pancho Claus.
Even if can’t make the trek to these epic warm-weather holiday events, locales and celebrations, you can take inspiration from them. And if you’re town isn’t hosting its own holiday spectacular, make it your New Year’s resolution to start one.