11.24.08 Personal

Where Santa Goes on Vacation

I
spent the yesterday afternoon with a dear friend who’s moving from California—after living here for just over a year—later this week. As we walked Polo, she turned to me and asked, How do you get in the Christmas spirit out here? I assumed that ‘out here’ was a totally loving, favorable, and fabulous reference to the most beautiful state in America. Obviously.

It’s November, Internet. And I wore flip-flops, a tank top, and jeans as we meandered in the 80-degree weather. Unless Santa Claus wanted to vacation, California doesn’t really scream White Christmas, if you know what I mean. Growing up in the Golden State, I never had a chimney and was told Santa crept in through out dryer lint trap. And Rudolf? Well, he stayed parked on our black gravel driveway.

I didn’t know how to aptly respond to my friend’s question, so I resorted to saying tanning in a red and green bathing suit really puts one in the holiday spirit. Singing The Beach Boys Christmas carols while decorating your house with the air-conditioner blowing spices up holiday cheer. Sipping on frozen hot chocolate and trimming the tree sometimes does the trick.

And, then, I wasn’t so sure. I mean, she spoke about snowmen, fireplaces, and bundling in down jackets. And what did I proffer? Iced peppermint coffee at Starbucks?! Oh, Internet, what’s a girl to do? I am searching for the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit in an unconventional way…the person with the best idea will get an iTunes gift card…you know, because it’s the season of giving and all! ;)

Happy Monday!
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Crystal Chick - Christmas doesn't have to be about the weather. It's the season of giving. So... give! Donate new toys, give food to a shelter, donate your time... or even better your photography for a good deed. And do it with a friend. Nothing SCREAMS holiday cheer like doing something to bring happiness to another. Even if it is just for a moment.  12.01.08 - 11:18am
David Hessemer - I have lived on Maui for the past 10 years. Having moved from Oregon where we had cold Christmas' and an occasional white Christmas, it was easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit that most people equate with this time of year. Our first holiday season on Maui was a bit strange. We put in our Turkey on Thanksgiving morning then went to the beach. I did not have red and green board shorts but I think I will get some this year. On Christmas Eve, after church we had a family tradition of all getting Christmas PJs. Steph, my wife, got us all warm PJ's so I decided to turn the AC way down so we would feel like it was freezing outside. We do this every year so it is cold when we get up every Christmas morning. Although this is fun and does seem to help, being in a warm place for Christmas made us think more of the real meaning of Christmas. Being with family, sharing your time with friends, finding secret ways to give things away. All thins is good but the real reason for the season seems to get lost more and more each year in our culture. All the songs about peace, love, joy, hope are all great things to aspire to but all these things come from Christ. The first half of Christmas. The possibility of having a living relationship with the God of the universe seems to be bit lofty to ask for as a Christmas present but it is what all the songs and presents all get back to. So what it takes to get into the Christmas spirit is simple. No matter where you are and whether is it hot out or snowing just close your eyes and think about the possibility of having a relationship with the God of all the universe. The one who no matter how bad the economy is, how bad things might have been this past year can still give Love, Joy, and Peace because He has no choice. That is all He is and all he can give. This year I lost both of my parents. Because of Christ I still have hope to be with them again someday. So no matter where you are remember Christ this Christmas. Christ is Christmas  11.29.08 - 9:49am
Amber - Make snowmen, snowballs and snow angels out of sand. :)  11.28.08 - 11:00pm
Amy T Schubert - I LOVE SoCal weather at Christmas time. Thanks for the beach boys reminder ... I should dig out my Christmas cds.  11.27.08 - 1:09pm
Cristina - To me, Disneyland is the most festive Christmas spot in all of SoCal. The first weekend in December they have a big Christmas production where local high school and church choirs join with the D-land band and play Christmas carols in a big show on Main Street. They also have a celebrity read the Christmas story out of the Bible (go figure... at Disneyland). My friends and I have been going the past few years and it does a great job of filling us with Christmas spirit. Especially when, through the magic of Disney, it snows after the parade!  11.26.08 - 11:34am
SJ Styles - Christmas: Is exactly how you make it! Do you want the fireplace and snow? Go to any store that has that relaxing fireplace DVD’s and a can of window snow, spray all of your windows pop in the DVD make some hot chocolate!!!   11.26.08 - 4:59am
Patricia Sampson - The first thing that you need to do is write a good old fashioned hand written letter to Santa Claus himself. How else is he supposed to know what is on your wish list this year?! Send your letter to this address (Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus, IN 47579) and then wait to receive a personal response in the mail from the big guy. You also need to change your cell phone ring tone to a cheesy Christmas song. Hearing "Jingle Bells" every time that your cell rings will totally get you into the spirit! The last thing that you need to do is go out and buy hideous matching Christmas sweaters (one for you, JD and don't forget about Polo!) and take some wacky family photos that you can cherish for years to come (and share on your blog of course). If those suggestions don't work you are more than welcome to come for a visit here in Nova Scotia where I am currently buried in snow :)  11.25.08 - 10:21pm
Iliana - I'm with shopping...going to Fashion Island and walking around with Palm Trees decorated with bright white lights and than sitting at Cheesecake Factory and having their "holiday cheesecake" (Pumkin Pecan)... Need I say more?! OH! One more...going to the Operation Christmas Child Warehouse and volunteering and listen to christmas music while you do it! :) (you can do both in one day!!!)  11.25.08 - 9:14pm
Allie - umm... how about traveling to some exotic winter wonderland for new years that tops last years island in both adventure and extravagance! (still brainstorming on where this would specifically be, but that's just a minor detail) ;)  11.25.08 - 6:01pm
michelle cunningham - all i ever did was walk into the mall! shopping is the solution to everything.  11.25.08 - 4:37pm
yvonne l - CRANK the AC waaaaay up... grab that sweater from the top of the closet, snag a fashionable scarf/hat/gloves and a hot cup of hot choco or apple cider. Of course pull out your photo album of Christmas' gone by and reminisce. How lucky we are... a true SoCal Christmas!  11.25.08 - 3:24pm
jackie wonders - christmas blend coffee and red holiday cups do get me in the christmas spirit:) buying a sweater and scarf for when it does get cold like i'm going to:) and decorating early while baking something.   11.25.08 - 2:55pm
mary beth graff - take her on a walk on the town where you may encounter some folks down on their luck. offer to take them to dinner, buy them a night in a hotel or groceries for the week. that is where the spirit takes over-in giving--REALLY giving of yourself while making a connection with the person (s). if the spirit of the holiday doesn't grab her then-nothing will.  11.25.08 - 12:33pm
Erin - I think a great way to celebrate Christmas is to volunteer feeding the homeless. It really makes you realize how much there is to celebrate and be thankful for, and it's nice to spend a day helping those less fortunate.  11.25.08 - 12:14pm
Mark Malter - Sorry, i was so happy telling my dad's story, i forgot to mention HOW i am going to celebrate ! Well, i am gonna put the Neil Diamond CD on in the background, cook some Pralines (yes, i'm from Louisiana), and call my dad everyday until he is tired of talking to me. I might keep some spiced cider steeping on the back burner from time to time to add that little something extra in the air as we decorate and be thankful that we have each other.   11.25.08 - 12:09pm
Mark Malter - Jasmine, This year, i think i'll be celebrating the hardest i've celebrated in years. The cause is definitely my faith in our Lord and the miracles he has performed in all of our lives. I personally feel selfish in thanking our Lord for giving my Father back to me. You see he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer about a month ago. It has mestasisized (S) throughout his entire trunk and his doctors basically told him to go home and die because there is no cure or treatment for this sort of cancer. Well, being the fighter that my family is. My grandmother and my aunts found a treatment center and off they went to Tulsa, Oklahoma. So far, they have given our family so much hope that my father who initially was driven around the facility in a wheelchair walked the entire campus today and is whistling through the hallways ! I know tomorrow is a very special gift to each and every one of us.......I feel like that is what i'm celebrating this holiday season. Every day i get to have my dad around is yesterdays, tomorrow. Thank you Lord. Mark Malter  11.25.08 - 12:06pm
PJ - Read On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius. I read it almost every year. It puts the true reason for CHRISTmas in perspective for me.   11.25.08 - 11:46am
Kaycee - I'm not sure if this has been suggested yet, but my direct ticket to the holiday mood is giving away a holiday session to a deserving family who can't otherwise afford it. Choose a family who hasn't ever had portraits made (they are out there!) and wow them with the best holiday cards they've ever seen. Have fun with their session - some insta-snow on the palm trees, colorful layered scarves and hats, and fun post-processing. Just dreaming up creative sessions gets me in the holiday spirit every time!   11.25.08 - 11:42am
gina - listen to Transiberian Orchestra... and drink a top shelf rum egg nog...Santa will come... hee hee... ;) Happy Thanksgiving...  11.25.08 - 11:29am
Rachel L - I grew up in nothern Ca and we lived in southern Ca for 6 years so i never knew anything else! Now we live in TX where it isnt much colder for the most part. Its all about christmas music and classic Christmas movies for us to get into the christmas spirit. Add in some snuggles on the couch with some warm tea, coffee or hot chocolate and all is right with the world :) love your blog by the way!   11.25.08 - 11:28am
Danielle S - My mom moved to Hawaii last year from Cananda. Yes, the land of the cold and ice, oh and -40 degree celcius winter days. She was excited to move to paradise, but cried when she decorated for the holiday season and didn't see any snow when she looked out her kitchen window. She phoned me very upset when she found out that she couldn't come home for Christmas, and didn't know how she was going to get through the holidays with out all the 'little details' of back home like she had her whole life. So, this is what my family and I did and I think that it helped a little. I sent her 'snow' (it was really just shimmery white make-up in a bag, as the real stuff would obviously melt), and a Christmas CD of her fave carols in a care packages that included hot chocolate, mittins and a scarf. Yes, we knew that you don't need those things in hot weather but she thought it was cute. We also sent her our pictures of our houses all dressed up in their holiday best, including a couple photos of our houses in the snow. I guess it all helped a little, and she will be missing the snow again this year, so I will have my package waiting to be mailed again.  11.25.08 - 11:27am
Shannon - Oh Jasmine, embrase your surroundings! Put Christmas lights in the palm trees, garland all over your house, a wreath on the front door, and light candles ALLover your house. Then, make sugar cookies and cut out reindeer, santa's, snowmen, and more and decorate them with cream cheese icing. (you can even buy the dough and icing if you want :) You could even download a virtual fireplace if you don't have one yourself. All that's left to do is turn on some Christmas tunes and snuggle up with JD on the sofa and enjoy yourself! You'll be in holiday heaven before you know it. (oh and reindeer antlers for Polo is a MUST!) Happy Holidays!  11.25.08 - 11:20am
Millie - Listening to Handel's classical "Messiah" and being reminded that the most important part of Christmas are the first 6 letters.....Christ.   11.25.08 - 11:15am
Leah Mullett - I would have to say your best bet is stepping into a state of "denial" .... bundle up, tell yourself your cold, roll up some dirt and tell yourself its snow, and you and J.D. can go sledding down a hill ... just make sure you get a good running start, not sure how the sand is in sledding! ;) Oh and music ALWAYS gets you in the mood for anything! So start downloading Christina Aguilera's christmas songs from iTunes!   11.25.08 - 11:06am
Ava Grace - Put on your favorite comfy outfit; pull out ALL the christmas decoration; have your decorations all around you, put Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas on the stereo, turn it up really really loud and sing to it at the top ofyour lungs until JD comes in and joins you (or laughs at you as my husband would do). Enjoy!   11.25.08 - 11:05am
Leah Godfredson - For me, listening to a choir of children singing Christmas Carols puts me in the spirit-doesn't matter if the kids are mine or not. Those innocent, beautiful little voices bring me to tears every time.  11.25.08 - 9:48am
moraima - i live in FL, pretty similar to you i'm guessing, but at least we get some chilly days here. i was actually born and raised in Puerto Rico, yes an island smacked in the middle of the caribbean, not too far from the equator, so my christmas was never a white christmas, no down jackets, no scarfs. But as soon as we got close to the holidays everybody started to decorate (a lot) and play loud "parranda" (christmas music) in every house. So it didn't matter the weather; that was our holiday season. flip flops and all...  11.25.08 - 9:31am
Nichole - my dad started this little tradition a few years ago: he pays for one or two cars behind him in the starbucks drive-thru. also, pay for the car behind you on any tolls (bridges, parking lots, etc.)... just little random acts go a long way!  11.25.08 - 9:28am
Jessica - Invite a bunch of "orphan" people over for a meal to start off the holiday season - older people with no family around, college students, etc. Try out all new recipes on them and ask for their feedback. If you do this for college students, particularly males, they'll make you feel like the best cook around, since the best they usually get is frozen pizza. For decorating: Put Christmas lights in the fireplace (since it's too hot for a fire!) - I've got crystal looking ones in mine, with greenery.   11.25.08 - 9:08am
Lisa - I strive to live the "Christmas Spirit" all year long... but when I want to get into the "Commercial Christmas Spirit", haha, I put on Alvin and The Chipmunks "Christmas Don't Be Late". Seriously- try to NOT be excited about Christmas after listening to this song. Impossible. (Just in case you're unfamiliar with it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzTG0fTLAlU )  11.25.08 - 9:06am
Monica - Put up a Christmas Tree. While you are putting it up, listen to Christmas music. If you have places in CA where you can cut down your own tree go do that, it's fun and we even have them in Florida! Bake Christmas cookies. If you can't put up a tree Yankee Candle makes a great Balsam and Cedar scent that smells just like a tree. It's yummy! Decorate your house for the holidays, have a holiday party. Good luck and may you have a great Christmas (This is from another person in a hot state, although we are only in the 70's in Florida :) ).  11.25.08 - 8:59am
BP - Go buy a beautiful scarf and matching mittens, some great boots and hop on a plane to Canada to come visit us. We have over a foot of snow here right now! We'll take some photos of you out in the snow and you can hang them up every year around this time to remind yourself of the snow and get into the holiday spirit.   11.25.08 - 8:50am
Kristen Leigh - You could wrap a dozen presents and walk around the mall and give them to strangers "just because!" If someone did that to me I would smile, be "cheer-ed" and want to bless someone else!  11.25.08 - 8:49am
Leah Charbonneau - We make cookies! Any and all types. Whatever tickles your fancy. Then we give them away to friends and coworkers because we can't have 5 dozen cookies in the house. My husbands aunts made dozens of cookies one particularly rough Christmas and it's been a blast to keep the tradition. In North Carolina we get chilly but don't see snow often. It's a little hard to get in the spirit without some really cold weather but cookies and hot milk sure do help!   11.25.08 - 8:46am
Sissel - Every year since 9-11, we have adopted a family in need and delivered them "Christmas". You can do this through any charity organization near you. The first year we adopted a family in New York, but now stay local. This doesn't have to do with the weather so much, but knowing that one family (or more now-we've expanded our tradition) is going to be able to smile on Christmas replaces the spirit ten fold. That is our California way of getting in the spirit....cause it really is all about giving, right? {wink}  11.25.08 - 7:50am
Michelle Peek - I'll be spending my first Christmas in CALI this year and we are sooooo excited! We will be having a family reunion with our filipino family in L.A. and San Diego. I'm a cajun/asian so we will be making gumbo and pancit. Why not mix it up, as long as you are with the ones you love!!  11.25.08 - 7:47am
Leah Lund - Hmmmm...I live in Nebraska and although I frequent Cali, and have even spent a Christmas or two there, I would have to say, if you are hanging out in 80 degree weather...here is what I would do. I would go to mom's house, get the best recipe you can find for homeade sugar cookies (screw the calories for now)...make sure you are both making them together, play some holiday music (try frank sinatra, josh groban)...then after the first batch, you have put the food coloring in your frosting...you frost and decorate the cookies. Now, you have to make sure your clothes have flour on them. Then, after you frosted them, eat one! Maybe even sit down afterwards and watch "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation". And, of course, start wrapping some gifts, this always helps too. Ok, at least that is what I usually do to get in the spirit! It started out w/ me helping my mom, now its not only just me, but 5 nieces added in the mix! The movie is a Christmas tradition with our family after a few glasses of wine, we all pretty much crack up like we had just seen it for the first time. Enjoy! And happy holidays! I have an AWESOME recipe for the cookies by the way!   11.25.08 - 7:30am
Cortney - I'm struggling with the same thing this year! After having spent the past 26 Christmases blanketed in inches and feet of snow in Buffalo, NY, I am spending my very first holidy in FL and I don't know how I'm going to cope without the snowflakes, gloves, and scarves. I'm thinking about cranking up the AC and wearing my gloves and scarf anyways! Happy Holidays, Jasmine :)  11.25.08 - 6:17am
manon - how funny are you. I would be jumping up and down if I would be able to wear flip flops (and could use my scooter for my work way)...why don't you go to the target cristmas section and spent at least 2 hours there. :)   11.25.08 - 6:08am
Nelly Soares - I just love your blog, always puts a smile on my face every morning. I can't imagine Christmas in the heat as I live in MA, but I think Wendy's idea is a good way to get started....hope to see those pics!  11.25.08 - 4:56am
Whitney Gray - My 14 year old horseback riding daughter says to dress up like the nutcracker and put a pink tutu on your horse and ride in a small town Christmas parade. {True story from last year} It was really fun!  11.25.08 - 3:14am
Cathy Crawley - I think Wendy M should win! Thanks for the visual Wendy!!! ;)  11.25.08 - 3:11am
alyssa - and i want to add the sun always feel just a little different on christmas day, and i'm reminded by the rays of sunlight not the presents under the tree why christmas is so special, such a glorious birthday worth celebrating.  11.25.08 - 12:20am
Alyssa - First of all who says christmas had to be white? But I love sitting by the fireplace or yummy cinnamon candles when its dark outside under a thin blanket and reading every childrens christmas story under the CAian Christmas sun. Then when its just late enough to have cooled down climb into the car with a mug of hot chocolate, turn on christmas music and drive around looking at everyones christmas decorations.   11.25.08 - 12:18am
Events by Evonne - I feel the same way living out here on Maui! I ask myself that same question every year, so I always end up going to the East Coast for the holiday because something is just "not right" when I am decorating my tree in my tank top and shorts! :)  11.24.08 - 11:39pm
Erik Miguel - Dance in your underwear with your Christmas socks on, singing Christmas carols. Yeah!  11.24.08 - 11:10pm
Krista - Although I live in Canada - last year it did not look like we were going to have a white Christmas. A little girl on our street had told her dad her one wish was for a white Christmas. So one night late he drove up to a local indoor ice skating rink - when they clear the ice, they pile it up outside - looks like snow. He lined his car trunk with plastic and took trip after trip after trip to the ice rink. When she woke up the next day - she had snow! She was the only one in the city building snowmen and sliding down their little homemade hill. Got any ice rinks close to you? :-) As wonderful as a white Christmas is - you are also missing.... -having to plug in your car so that it'll start in the morning -having your car doors and locks freeze shut on you -having to wake up early to shovel your driveway, warm your car, and scrape off your car windows -bringing "indoor" shoes because you're wearing big winter boots -hat head -driving in icy conditions (black ice!) -having to salt your walkway to melt ice -frozen hair if you go out with it damp at all -wearing a scarf over your mouth to keep warm and then the condensation freezing -losing the feeling in your toes and fingers because they're so cold And the #1 thing you are missing - the childhood rite of passage... getting your tongue stuck to metal. ha ha! Some kid always decides to lick the playground equipment or flag pole (why??) and gets their tongue stuck to it!  11.24.08 - 11:01pm
Crystal - I think what Sharon Bushman says about traditions is perfect. As I was growing up and becoming an adult some of the traditions I had grown up with began to fall away and I missed them terribly. Then a few years back my best friend suggested that we start a new tradition of our own. My family would go to her family's house every year for a special meal. Every year we eat the same thing - something we always look forward to. When she first suggested it I thought that it was kind of silly because how could it ever replace the ones I missed from my childhood. I went along with it anyway keeping that thought to myself. I'm so glad I did because that and a few other traditions we've started since then have given me back that excitement and anticipation that I experienced as a child. So the suggestion to start a new tradition is a very good one. And of course, as many others have said, remembering the true meaning of Christmas and being mindful of the gift we were given so many years ago is another good place to start. :)  11.24.08 - 10:47pm
The Kid - Unconventional? Why? Just because your friend moved out here for only a year and now she wants to go back home because it doesn't snow here during Christmas? Feh! Sure, one of these days I would love to experience a "White Christmas" (the way Dean Martin sings it) but I LOVE CHRISTMAS HERE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA! As a kid I could open my presents Christmas morning and go OUTSIDE to play with my toys all day without having to get dressed up like Ralphie's little brother in "A Christmas Story" just to go outside. Why don't you use your mad picture taking skillz to show all of the "Southern Cal-During Christmas" haters what our Christmas Spirit is like out here even though we don't have snow. The houses decorated in San Marino, Christmas Tree lane in Altadena, The Balboa Holiday boat parade etc. etc. etc. We may not have snow, but we have what we know.   11.24.08 - 10:33pm
Simply Modern Weddings - Although I do miss the chilly winters in the Bay Area...I do love to call my family and say, "Merry Christmas, it's 80 degrees here!" This year we may go to San Fran, spend the holiday with some dungeness crab at the pier. YUMMY! (hey, it's red!)  11.24.08 - 9:56pm
Jasmine Marie - I don't have an answer, but is it weird that I'm actually looking forward to the rain the next couple of days so that it can feel more fall-ish? :) Even with the lack of a white Christmas, California still is the best place to be. Period.   11.24.08 - 9:50pm
nattnee - well down here in Australia, we embrace the heat and throw a barbie (that's bbq) with all our friends =)  11.24.08 - 9:34pm
Sarah E Billion - 1. Go ice blocking. It will be as fun as sledding and your behind will still get just as cold ;) or, go ice skating. 2. Make 'snow angels' in the sand at the beach (and take pictures). 3. Go caroling with some friends and lift some spirits/make people laugh/smile. 4. Watch and quote your favorite silly Christmas movies ("Fraa-giii-layyy!!") Laugh until you cry. Or, watch a great classic Christmas movie that makes you tear up (like 'It's a Wonderful Life' or 'A Christmas Carol'. 6. Go and see a live or drive through Nativity and ponder the true meaning of Christmas. :)  11.24.08 - 9:20pm
rachel brooke - I can't even try for this, just reading these comments is as good as winning!! I love Wendy M's peanut comment. hilarious!  11.24.08 - 9:16pm
Sharon Bushman - What I wouldn't give to be walking around in a tank top and flip flops!!! You would think living in NYC around the holidays would be a idyllic experience....Well, if you think freezing your tush off as you walk the streets, maneuvering around slush puddles, and dealing with the throngs of tourist's is fun, then come on over! Christmas is and always will be about spending time with people you care about. Family, friends, you name it. The Christmas spirit can be easily found whether you're hot or cold. Eggnog in a swimsuit? Bring it. Candy Canes on the beach? I'm there. For myself, I think Christmas means traditions... maybe you can do something new this year that become a tradition. There is something oddly comforting about the same thing happening every year...be it a food item, a story told, an outfit worn...whatever. Passing those traditions on is fun! I look forward to the day when I have a family of my own and the traditions we'll make.   11.24.08 - 9:14pm
Shari - I think the best way to get into the Holiday Spirit is to remember what it is all about. The birth of a tiny baby who would one day free the nations---it's unconventional, but the only way to feel the TRUE spirit of Christmas! Happy Holidays!  11.24.08 - 9:11pm
Aileen - My first Christmas here in SoCal was such a difficult one. As a homesick 19 year old, I cried. Why? Because it wasn't cold enough. It always sounded so silly to me, and to this day I still can't get over the lack of Christmas feel in the air. After reading your post, I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one. I grew up in the Seattle area, so Christmas time always had this "stillness" in the air. It didn't always snow, but that stillness was something I was always waiting for every year. I wish I could come up with some ideas for you, or maybe I should say something cliche like Christmas isn't about cold weather. What I do to 'feel' the holiday: listen to Christmas songs 24/7 and keep the generic scents of winter throughout my home. It kind of helps. Oh! and when it does get a little chilly at night, I keep my windows and doors open so I have an excuse to curl up under a blanket to read a book :)  11.24.08 - 8:58pm
Wendy M - Oh, I know! Get a big bag of white packing peanuts. Turn your air conditioner to the coldest setting. Spread the peanuts on the floor. Lie down in the middle of them. Movie your arms and legs up and down, back and forth. You just made a California Snow Angel! Get JD to take a picture of you making your angel and then of the finished product, then share them with all your internet buddies. Happy Holidays from Northern California!  11.24.08 - 8:37pm
Amy Clifton - "Adopt" a needy child from an Angel Tree or a non-profit agency and shop for him or her! In my non-photography life, I work for a non-profit agency, and we always have a couple 100 kids needing sponsors. I usually "adopt" one or two, and it is so much fun to pick out gifts for these kids, whether or not you know them, and to treat them to some fun stuff not on their list of necessities. :-)  11.24.08 - 8:34pm
Liza - I officially can not help you. I've lived in Washington state all my life and wouldn't have it any other way. I love anticipating snow, the chilly fall weather, the rain! Yes everyone, I am from Seattle and I love the rain! I love the Holiday season here, especially when heading downtown. So the best idea I can come up with is...shopping. Get into the holiday spirit by shopping, put up the tree and stop at Starbucks so that it's still something 'you'. Take your drink home and snuggle up on the couch with JD with your tree lit up and watch a good holiday movie. I heard 'This Christmas' just came out on DVD! ;)  11.24.08 - 8:15pm
Alicia - I grew up in LA, but spent many years back East in the freezing snow, experiencing the good and bad that such weather had to offer. While I agree that snow and sweaters evoke images of the holidays, the years I spent in the cold were not those I cherish the most, having been far away from the ones I love. Despite what advertisers would like us to think, I realized early on that, at least for me, getting into the Christmas spirit is not about the weather or decorations or presents. It is about thinking outside myself and cherishing and spending time with those I love and care about. So, getting in the spirit of the season for me is making plans to see all those I can, and personally contact those I can’t. My suggestions are these… Make plans to get together with as many of your friends and relations over the next few weeks as you can possibly fit into your schedule. Whether the activity is community service oriented, a social event, a social shopping trip, or just a quick lunch, each activity and the anticipation of those to come will instill and build a holiday spirit in you in a way that snow can’t compete. Set aside time to call up the friends and relations who are too far away to visit. Track down those friends you haven’t talked to in a while or even some that you’ve lost touch with. Reminisce, catch-up, plan a reunion, whatever. The topic doesn’t matter. (Of course webcams are great, but a phone call is fine. But emails and cards just aren’t the same.) Over the next few weeks, fill your life to overflowing with the people who matter to you. By the way, I’ve always found it most satisfying to call those of my friends who live in areas where it gets cold from a beach chair, while watching the ocean and enjoying an alcoholic beverage. Plan a trip to the beach and take your cell phone. There is nothing quite like it to make you better appreciate the warm holiday experience. Finally, expand your circle. Make a concerted effort to get to know those who anonymously live and work around you. Take a few minutes to chat with each of the people in your office you don’t usually talk to. Go around and offer your services to your neighbors to help them put up their Christmas tree or lights. It doesn’t matter the excuse. The more you focus on making Christmas about things in your control, the easier it will be to bring the holiday spirit to you. That is my humble opinion. For those of you yearning for a taste of cooler weather, I suggest heading up to apple country. Although the picking season is pretty much over by now, and most of the “apple seasonal” events are passed, it is still lovely and a lot cooler, and the area has a sort of East Coast Fall – feel to it. The best part is that it is only a relatively short drive compared with going all the way up into the mountains. Also you’ll be able to pick-up some great treats for the holidays, like preserves and apple butter.   11.24.08 - 8:02pm
Kristine - I'm from Seattle and definitely have a difficult time getting into the holiday spirit around here. I'm trying to deal! So this year I've started to ramp myself up and donated 1# Starbucks coffee to the troops. There's a deal going on where Starbucks is sending coffee overseas to our good guys-n-gals in uniform. Since my hubby is also military, I decided that will be the first of several pounds I'll donate. Why not? Everybody deserves a cup of joe! ;-) And maybe a peppermint latte! AND Sirius Sattelite is now playing Christmas tunes on channel 81. Tune in!  11.24.08 - 7:50pm
Sara - I believe in the "Holiday Spirit" in the way that I think the best way to get into the mood of the season is to go out into the world and spread some cheer! Be more patient with others, throw out all the smiles you can, go out of your way to do something extra nice for someone.......I'll bet you'll get so much goodness in return that you won't be able to help but be in the holiday spirit! Happy holidays Jasmine!   11.24.08 - 7:43pm
triSh - i come from a one climate country, so it's always hot!!! and i so envy those who have snow, i've never touched snow before!! so what i do over here to get into the mood (which, really i don't need coz i'm forever ON for Christmas) - i'll pop in some Christmas tunes (my fav ones of course), turn up the aircond when i can afford it. or, really, i'll just go to the mall and enjoy the free aircond, Christmas music, and start getting excited as i plan Christmas gifts (and dream of my own Christmas wish list!)... if you enjoy crafts, then i'll go online and look for ideas. but more importantly, take time to enjoy the spirit of Christmas, love, joy and peace!! and Happy Birthday, dear Jesus!! (you could also go read the Bible on His Birth to get your spirit pumping!!) :)  11.24.08 - 7:36pm
Caitlin - I agree with Amy, below. Recently, a bride of mine emailed me this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqqj1v-ZBU I immediately got into the Christmas spirit as I haven't been in years...  11.24.08 - 7:23pm
Amy - Do something for somebody else. Giving always puts me in the holiday spirit. Volunteer at a food bank, a homeless shelter, or something like that. Call a church. Ask how you can help with your fab photography skills...maybe there is a single parent or a needy family that wants portraits that can't afford them. Give, give, give. I promise it will put you in the spirit.  11.24.08 - 7:12pm
KP - Christmas has always been about the food and being together for us. We live in a hot climate and have no family outside of ourselves. I started traditions early whilst the kids were little, and they have remained in place for sixteen years now. The day starts off with carols. Always Bing! We sit around the tree and sometimes. if we're lucky, it is cool and misty to start off the day. Then it is time for fresh coffee or juice, croissants with ham and swiss cheese. Everyone starts enjoying their gifts as I start cooking the feast. Then we eat, drink, talk and laugh for a few hours - maybe spend some time in the sun, depending on the heat and the night is 'always' corny movies and snacking on left-overs.  11.24.08 - 7:10pm
Steve - Oh J*, the trials you must endure. LOL. Some honest suggestions from a no longer snow bound Canadian... Sand angels, then a swim. Loose knit toque, so it has some airflow! Egg nog is always a winner. It's a mouthful of Christmas I tell ya! Blessing others for no reason whatsoever whether it be with a picture or a Peppermint Mocha (mmm). Finally and most important, surprise JD with a splash of mistletoe. Always makes me want to celebrate! Merry Christmas, soon.  11.24.08 - 7:06pm
Meg - Buy Michael Buble's Christmas CD and fill a couple of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child! It's a great way to give AND receive!  11.24.08 - 7:01pm
Cherie yost - I too had my air conditioner turned on today. Gotta love so cal! Well I think this Christmas is a hard one...for so many people. Just tonight I found out that my next door neighbor lost her job due to layoffs at her work. I hear that day after day. Everytime I click the tv on I long to hear good news, but it as if one company after another is going under. So here is how I think you should get in the Christmas spirit. Take some time to dig up info on the real St Nick and how he lived long ago and loved God. He was known to sneak money to people who needed it by throwing stockings with money in their houses. While I don't suggest opening anyones windows and throwing things inside, I would apply that to a time like today when so many people are without jobs and without the money to buy Christmas presents. I think of the amount of people that would not be able to have professional family pictures done and to just one family you might be able to be their very own St Nick. I would put up a blog asking for a family deserving of free pictures or maybe not even do it publically but just ask around. It can't be hard find this year. What a blessing for a family to have amazing pictures taken. What could put you in the Christmas mood more than being St Nick?   11.24.08 - 6:23pm
andie - Do you remember Santa's Village? It was up in the mountains somewhere...Growing up in California we would go there this time of year (usually in flip flops and shorts) to get in the Christmas spirit.   11.24.08 - 6:21pm
Katherine Bowman - Even though I live in Iowa, it's not always white on Christmas, cold yes, but sometimes very brown. A couple things work for me. I love to decorate so anytime I go shopping I always check out the glittery Christmas ornaments and decorations. I have a radar for things that sparkle! I also love to give and the past couple years I've visited the cancer unit that my dad was in before Christmas one year. Bringing each patient a simple card or homemade gift and visiting with them was the best! I loved seeing smiles on their faces! I also love the tastes and smells of the season. I quarter apples (the ones that have sat too long work great) and put them in a pot with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and allspice. Add water and let it simmer on the stove for hours! It smells up the whole house! YUM!   11.24.08 - 6:11pm
Dan Speicher - Amend the last comment: "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party"   11.24.08 - 6:04pm
Dan Speicher - We have an "Ugly Christmas Party" every year. Its a chance to have fun and wear those really atrocious sweaters that seem to be so popular around the Christmas season. We have gingerbread and fruit cake cookies and drink eggnog and enjoy eachothers company, and then we go around and read A Christmas Carol...just a thought   11.24.08 - 6:02pm
lin - Hmm. Holiday spirit. I spend my time at the local animal shelter giving my love and company to those many dogs and cats in need.  11.24.08 - 5:40pm
Kia - Set the air conditioner to 50 degrees, light up the fire place, play Christmas music, and drink hot apple cider.  11.24.08 - 5:33pm
Amanda Lachapelle - Oops meant warm and "sandy" winter wonderland err retract that error lol :)  11.24.08 - 5:28pm
Amanda Lachapelle - There are three things that you could do to get in the Christmas in a warm and snowy winter wonderland 1. Go to the most beautiful beach in the area - Make a huge Christmas tree in the sand - Bring ornaments to put on it 2. Then go home with all the people you did that with - Have a few glasses of Eggnog and sing some carols 3. Then go out and sing some Christmas Carols - to your neighbors or at a local Retirement Home It's hard though - I really do count on the snow to make me feel in the spirit. I find the gift and joy of giving also helps - You could always volunteer as a Christmas Elf at the hospital :)  11.24.08 - 5:27pm
Veronica Hinojosa - You just have to come back to Chicago and do some serious holiday shopping on the Magnificent Mile that is Michigan Ave. With the many colored lights, the long coats, and cashmere scarfs -- the Salvation Army folks ringing their bells and the sound of a register. You go to Garrett's for some popcorn and the Walnut Room for brunch. Oh what a great city... Chicago... I wouldn't trade it for year round 80's. Chicago is has personality!!!!!  11.24.08 - 5:15pm
Sally - Invite some friends around to roast some chestnuts on the barbie! Try to pursude one of the men to dress as Santa, a sunny version Santa! And maybe a few reindeers and elves thrown in too so that all the girls can spend the afternoon laughing at the men!! And make sure there are lots of Christmassy tunes too. We always love to play games at Christmas - you could get some jumbo outside games such as snakes and ladders and twister etc. Have fun x  11.24.08 - 4:56pm
janine kye - being an Aussie, we are used to hot christmas days. I love eating seafood, hanging out at the beach and walking around the streets a night enjoyng the balmy evening weather while admiring everyones christmas lights. I love soaking in the joy and sense of happiness regardless of the weather...  11.24.08 - 4:38pm
You make me LOVE being ME - Well, the cold snowy Christmas spirit concept is a completely western idea...since Christmas began in the Middle East with a baby born in a manger, I don't think that it's hard to get in the true spirit of Christmas, even in the heat! I think you should grab a camel and follow a star! :)  11.24.08 - 3:56pm
joyful weddings and events - lots of junk food. I mean... focusing on the true meaning of christmas? Come November 28th, you will find me blaring the christmas music while baking cookies. And I agree with the idea of making it cold in the house so you can put on a sweater. We light up the fireplace after having the AC on for a while :)  11.24.08 - 3:38pm
Andrea Blair - At this point...all I can think of and it's getting me all giddy, 1 MONTH till Christmas Eve! Not sure that's very creative thinking...but it's simple and is getting me in the Christmas Spirit.  11.24.08 - 3:36pm
Stacey Schmidt - What I always love about christmas is baked goods! It would be fun to make a bunch of sugar cookies but decorate them a little differently, ie: santa with a speedo, or a snowman with an umbrella and sunglasses. something like that. Then have a fun little dinner party with fun cocktails that have cranberries or something like that in them, and play cheesy christmas music ( the only kind i like) for example reggae christmas songs. Hope this helps!  11.24.08 - 3:28pm
Megan - The one thing that always gets me in the Christmas Spirit is picking up a form from church for Operation Christmas Child. Nothing says giving like packing up a shoe box of all sorts of goodies to be sent to children who may not get anything for Christmas that year. I always get excited at the idea of shopping for someone I've never met and picking out fun stuff to give them for Christmas. Our church has a tree that you can drop off your wrapped shoe box to and they'll take it to the nearest collection point. If I'm not mistaken, the final day of collection is today :( Although if you'd like to check it out or print out a form, here's their website. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/ I'm sure they'd have some similar things you could get involved in though!  11.24.08 - 3:24pm
Rachel b.d. - Hmm, totally unconventional way? Cover your entire floors with cottonballs and make cottonball-angels with Polo? Wear green, red, and white until the New Year?? Or if you're really want a "white christmas" how about a snowglobe? (i love those things!) Shake it up when you feel the need. And if all else fails, remember that the holidays are a time to be with those you love dearly, forfeitting the diets and eating to your heart's (and stomach's) content. Just dont over-eat or your fam will think you're Santa. or pregnant. =)   11.24.08 - 3:24pm
Candace Prokopets - Well, Jasmine, as far as I can tell you are a magazine girl. Your blog is inspired by magazines and your photography could be a spread in any magazine. I love magazines as well and have them piled up all over my house in hopes to one day get through them all. You seem to get a lot of inspiration from your fashion magazines so why can't we do the same with Christmas? Get some magazines and pick out some outfits for your Christmas and New Year parties. Then get a food magazine and pick out your favorite cookie recipe for the season. You can get a home magazine and figure out some new ideas for decorating. And to get your creative juices going grab a magazine that has home made gift ideas. They always mean more and you'll need to start them now which will also help to kick things into gear. Enjoy!  11.24.08 - 3:08pm
Daniel Lanning - you should go visit my parents in northern Michigan....they've got 11" of snow on the ground and more on the way.....and then you could cut down a christmas tree while you're at it since it's the christmas tree capital of the world......  11.24.08 - 3:07pm
Steph S. - This is totally NOT economically friendly, but yeah the holidays are about fun times!!!!!! :) Turn up the A/C as HIGH (low?) as you can so that your house is SUPER cold. Then play some Christmas music, wait until your chilled to the bone & put on a sweater, string some lights, & while your bundled up read the Christmas story. This all helps if you also dress Polo up and light some candles!  11.24.08 - 3:05pm
Juliann - I live here too. I break out the old Steven Curtis Chapman "Music of the Heart" album. Though I lived here all my life, this album makes me dream of the perfectly meaningful and joyful Christmas. I've yet to experience that in real life, but someday I hope I will.  11.24.08 - 2:56pm
Margo - My husband's family lives in North Dakota, so we get ready for the holidays by buying warm coats and gloves, and then we brave the cold! The best part? Coming back to a warmer climate!  11.24.08 - 2:54pm
Renay - J*, I have been reading your blog for along time now but never posted a comment (so YEAY it's my first). Because I've lived in Cali all my life too, I definitely know those warm, winter nights! It's so odd yet strangely normal around these parts. And not only am I a Cali girl but I've also lived in Orange County for most of my life and know that the Newport Beach really gets into the spirit and it is always cool to go check out the Christmas lights while cruisin' the harbor. I saw an add in the paper for the Gondola Co. of Newport (www.gondolas.com) and think that a gondola ride with your sweetie would not only get you into the spirit of Christmas (honestly the Christmas lights are spectacular) but it could also be a cool idea for a "hot date night"!  11.24.08 - 2:25pm
Cathy Crawley - Hey Jasmine, I live in Sydney Australia so Christmas Day here is always hot hot hot but we still have lots of Christmas Spirit! Our favorite thing to do for the weeks leading up to Christmas is to go wondering the streets looking at all the houses decked out with Christmas lights, that always gets us into the Christmas Spirit! As for the big day itself we decorate our houses, play carols, have Christmas lunch and some of us head to the Beach for some fun. Mostly, we eat too much, spend too much time in the Sun and swim until our skin is all wrinkly.   11.24.08 - 2:23pm
jeramy - i've had so many friends and family profess their disgust for california as of late....i just don't get it. i love it here. they can have their white christmas....i'll take the beach.  11.24.08 - 2:17pm
gina - ok.. seriously jasmine.. you and your group of friends and the hubby need to come over our house and see the magic of Christmas theme" the flight of the human spirit" all new, but here is last years http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26ivOUXnPgE we will have the hot chocolate ready.. ;) ~g  11.24.08 - 2:15pm
Lindy - to me Christmas is all about family so just surround yourself with family and soon the holiday cheer will creep into your bones!  11.24.08 - 2:10pm
Diandra - I grew up in Oregon where there ARE white Christmases... and those are great... but I think the best way is to embrace the place you are at. Southern California is BEAUTIFUL in the winter time... it is just chilly enough for pants instead of shorts and its a wonderful feeling to go out in the crisp-ish air and enjoy living in this INCREDIBLE place that people dream of visiting. I for one, plan to buy a pink Christmas tree from Wal Mart (they actually have them there), decorate it with wonderfully Californian themed items, and then enjoy living in this beautiful place... rather than try to make it like all the other places I think this year I'll embrace it's unique-ness by being a little unique myself... i think a PINK tree is a start! And if pink isn't your color... they have other choices :)  11.24.08 - 2:10pm
margarita - Ever hear of Candy Cane lane? Its an area in woodland hills, where ALL the houses in the neighborhood deck their houses out in christmas decorations (crazy crazy extreme decorations). Its impossible to drive through. You park your car somewhere, and just walk around in that area. Its gorgeous. Some houses have someone dressed as Santa who passes out candycanes and such. But the spirit and feeling is beyond amazing (exit winnetka, right, left on oxnard ). The Grove in la is also great - every hour on the hour, they start playing xmas carols sung by sinatra and shoot fake snow everywhere - beautiful, romantic, sweet.   11.24.08 - 2:07pm
Trenton - I know exactly what yo mean, Central FL isn't exactly a winter wonderland either. My first suggestion would be to go to Disney. This sounds totally stupid, but it really works. My family and I usually go to the EPCOT Candlelight Processional on Christmas Eve, the music is absolutely unbelievable and the atmosphere screams Christmas. You can go to youtube and look at some of the videos, but they don't really do the grandiose production justice. After Candlelight is over we usually head over to MGM, now DHS, to see the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights. Literally millions of Christmas lights timed, programmed, and animated to all of the Christmas-time favorites. After the spectacle is over they have snow machines on the roof-tops which blow snow onto the streets, even though it's fake, 80 degrees, and kinda soapy the effect still holds true. The whole experience of the evening is truly indescribable. Now, with that said, Disneyland may not put together quite that much of a production, but I'm sure that they deck out the whole park for Christmas. Here's the site: http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland/en_US/special/holidays/detail?name=HolidaysSpecialEventPage p.s.: I know you use PS a lot so I figured I'd pass this on too. If you aren't already a NAPP member you have to join. If you buy anything from B&H, Apple, etc. it's totally worth it in just the discounts alone, not to mention the education and magazine too. Here's it's site:http://www.photoshopuser.com/register.html&aid=tgzyev&code=friend  11.24.08 - 1:55pm
erica sergio - 1. put on some rain boots, scarves, thermal underwear ... the warmest stuff you have. 2. put a boom box in the bathroom (yes, i just said boom box) & crank your favorite christmas album ('n sync christmas is always a good choice). 3. turn on the shower to the freezing coldest it will go. 4. get in the shower, close your eyes, sing "silent night" along with justin as loudly as possible, & imagine that you are in torrential downpour in a place that actually gets a winter. now if that doesn't put you in the spirit, i don't know what will.   11.24.08 - 1:52pm
STAN - how about this??? www.adventconspiracy.org   11.24.08 - 1:49pm
VALERIE YAMILE - Well, I'm from Puerto Rico and the best way for me to get the "Creehs-tmah-spee-ree" like we call it is to listen to some nice jibaro music, cook some rice and gandules, mmmm. Some pasteles and un poquito de coquito (like eggnog, only NOT). Aren't you Puerto Rican too?? Take a little vacation down to the island and celebrate Christmas all the way to Three Kings Day which is way better than celebrating it until the 26th! It ends so soon here! Well, I'm getting the "Creehs-tmah-spee-ree" soon because my mom will be here this year. Woot woot!  11.24.08 - 1:47pm
Polka Dot Bride - Move to Australia- its summer here for Christmas every single year! We still get pummeled with endless snowy Christmas movies..but if you're lucky enough to find an Aussie one he wears a singlet and flip flops and drinks beer from a can...we eat seafood and have cold cocktails and head to the beach with icecream...  11.24.08 - 1:44pm
Erica Velasco - Hi Jasmine. Well I'm originally from Chicago and now live in AZ, so I feel this post very much. It was a hard transition for me to get into the Holiday spirit. But I found the perfect solution! Listening to Christmas music all day long! There is a station out here KEZ 99.9 that starts playing Christmas music right after Halloween till January. You can listen online at kez999.com and listen all day long...when you are editing, cleaning, hanging stockings...it's sure to get you in the spirit. I know my BF thinks it's annoying, but I don't care...it instantly cheers me up =)  11.24.08 - 1:44pm
Dani D - In the past I have always began my 'Christmas Marathon' with putting up the tree, dressing my bulldogs as elves and chasing them around the house with my camera! This year I get to add a new baby in the mix, we shall see how it goes!  11.24.08 - 1:36pm
Katie Beverley - Hey Jasmine! I grew up in California and now live in coooold Chicago, and let me tell you, I think I am the only one out here that doesn't think you need snow to get into the Christmas spirit! I miss my beautiful weather! But I'd say, go out to a Christmas tree farm where you can cut down your own tree :) My mom, bro, and I always did that and it was so fun to see a tree and say "that's the ONE!" and take it home and decorate it. Also, the room scent "Noel" from Crabtree and Evelyn got us into the Christmas spirit with one squirt!   11.24.08 - 1:29pm
Beka - It's the same in New Zealand! The thing which always super duperly gets me into the Christmas spirit is driving around town at night and looking at all the lights. In our town we have a Christmas lights competition, and people decorate their houses with Christmas lights...so going around looking at them makes Christmas seem so close!  11.24.08 - 1:29pm
Abbey - All those things she mentioned are nice, and I live in Tennessee and can relate. However, getting into the spirit involves reflecting on memories of past Christmases and the time spent with family...ornaments with stories behind them like it was given to you by your grandparents on their 50th wedding anniversary for you to pass along to your grandchildren on your 50th. Who doesn't love hanging some lights? Christmas music is a must, and just calling up your sister to reminisce about jumping on the trampoline in your pjs Christmas morning, thrilled "Santa" got the hint.  11.24.08 - 1:29pm
brianna - go get a pedicure with your best friend. ;)  11.24.08 - 1:14pm
Linda - Well, I went to see A Christmas Carol Sat night and that was early so it helped. We like to have a family over and do a complete read through of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. It gets our focus on the real meaning of Christmas and helps us see the Christ Child's birth in a new fresh way...through the eyes of a child who has never heard the story.  11.24.08 - 1:11pm
Leah - Well, right now I really am jealous of you. I am in Ohio and today we had rain, sleet, and snow. I had to slip and slide down my driveway to get to the mailbox. And I have my second cold of the season already. As much as I really love Christmas with snow, I think I could find a way to celebrate in the warm weather. Decorate your palm trees, spray the fake snow on the windows, put that christmas sweater tank top on and have a Merry Christmas!  11.24.08 - 1:10pm
Navy Sou - EASY! Get in front of the camera for your Christmas session! Getting together our Christmas cards always makes Christmas official for us!  11.24.08 - 1:04pm
C.J. Scott - Donate your time for a good cause....be it giving blood, collecting food items for your local food bank or bringing Polo in to a senior care-facility/hospital for a visit with patients. None of these are unconventional, but doing any of the above would not only get you into the holiday spirit, but also raise your happiness barometer and those of the people you've taken the time to help.  11.24.08 - 1:04pm
Jen - Thoughts of Christmas... not too hard here in West Michigan with snow piles outside my window... But Christmas is all about spending precious time with our friend and family in this O so crazy world we live in. To me "that Christmas feeling" comings from cuddling with my hubby and puppy, long chats with close friends and the though that i have ONE more excuse to go shopping solely because i get to share my blessing with those close to me! (even if that means buying them the most rediculous items i can find!!)  11.24.08 - 12:54pm
Emma - Sounds like an Australian Christmas to me :-)  11.24.08 - 12:54pm
Ashley - For me, it's listening to Christmas music, drinking peppermint hot coco, watching Christmas movies, spending time with family, and most importantly, remembering the reason why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.   11.24.08 - 12:34pm
D Baker - Clearly, the only way to get in the Christmas spirit is to go out and find the one and only "Christmas Leg Lamp" from A Christmas Story and place it proudly in your large front window (that I assume you have) There you have it. :)  11.24.08 - 12:32pm
Christine Farah - Everyone needs angels in their lives right?? So this is what we use to do growing up by the beach. We would go down and create sand angels. Why not go down and make sand angels with your friends document it and then make a sand angel collage for all of the angels in your life. Another thing we use to do is throw a Christmas party at a nursing home. Lots of lonely people who could use some holiday cheer. Or do what I am doing this year which is forgoing presents and adopting a couple of families that really could use the help, and asking friends and family to join me. What better way to celebrate the reason for the season? :)  11.24.08 - 12:24pm
Melissa Schlax - Start a new tradition. You live in such a beautiful place instead of trying to create a cold Christmas...go roast your chestnuts over a fire on the beach, pack the eggnog and gingerbread in a picnic basket and make a date of it. Make it a family event, a romantic evening out, or invite strangers on the beach to join you.  11.24.08 - 12:14pm
wac - A) download the new Christmas compilation from the Ten out of Tenn gang (ten independent musicians from nashville)- http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=296401715&s=143441.....2) make some hot chocolate with whip cream and chocolate syrup (peppermint schnapps optional)...C) after you've finished listening to 10 amazing artists cover 10 amazing Christmas songs, top off the hot chocolate (again, schnapps are optional) and watch A Christmas Story....D) throw on the red and green bathing suit and soak up some sun, while eating popcorn off a string that you strung together during the movie.... done and done. holiday spirit has been achieved....  11.24.08 - 12:05pm
silvia - The best way to get into the holiday spirit is when your children start writing up those letters to Santa!  11.24.08 - 12:00pm
Yuka photo art - My dream always was to spend Christmas in Lapland.... This place has real mood of holiday and happiness..People go there to see real snow...a lot of snow, events, such as ice sculptures festival, music festivals, museums, figure skating. The most popular place –village where Santa Claus lives. You should google "Lapland, Finland" and you will understand what i mean. (sorry for my poor English)  11.24.08 - 11:55am
JULIE - You should have, or challenge all of us addicted readers to snail mail you and send some of our favorite things about the season, ideas written down, memories and of course pictures, and keep all your favorites to put in a special wintery box. It might be enjoyable, if not, you'll forget about it BUT next year open it up and travel around the states in the comfort of your own home. Viewing pictures and warm fuzzie messages from us! I'm here in cental New York, layered sweaters, pellet stove humming along, my three little ones all napping with their quilts tucked tightly around them ( think burrito) or coccoon! Just a thought.. stay.. warm.. Gotta go check the thermostat! They should invent finger warmers, think really mini, leg warmers.... "Let it snow- let it snow.. ok it can't stop!"  11.24.08 - 11:42am
Alison - Someone once helped us when we needed it and it was such a blessing. Early in November, we look around us for someone struggling. It could be an individual or a family, doesn't matter. We anonymously help that person with grocery gift cards or paid rent or whatever we can get together. This year it is a family we know through daycare who has a new baby who is ill and mom has been out of work for most of the year. My extended family is joining in as well. I love doing it anonymously so they don't feel any obligation to anyone. That kicks it off for us and is the highlight of our Christmas.   11.24.08 - 11:39am
Lydia - My friends in the desert used to blast their air conditioning so they could bundle up, start a fire, and sip hot chocolate. Turn on some Christmas music and fill your house with wonderful smells by baking cookies. Just visiting the mall might help as it's always beautifully decorated! My family always adopts a family from Salvation Army. We Christmas shop for them instead of buying gifts for each other. Maybe you could visit a children's hospital and take quick family pictures for them. I know it's not your forte (yeah right!), as my little cousin has spent much of her life in the hospital, it would be something the families would REALLY appreciate!  11.24.08 - 11:36am
Sarah D. - I live in VA, and I *still* have a hard time getting into the holiday spirit. It's soooooo incredibly easy to loose focus when one's busy! This is what I do to get in the "holiday spirit": 1. Drive to a place where you can see the stars. Not one or two stars, but lots of stars. 2. Stop the car, turn off the stereo, open the window (or put the top down), and just LOOK at the loveliness. 3. Think about the Christmas Story. The "holiday spirit" should be a focus on generosity and selflessness as much as a focus on the ultimate gift-- the gift of Jesus Christ. Engage the imagination. Think about Mary, and that visit from the angel. How did she feel? What did she think? Imagine the shepherds, staring at those same stars that you see. What went through their minds? 4. Stare at those stars and drink in what Jesus Christ means for you. What would've happened if He never came? Where would you be? How are you different because of His life and sacrifice? What other ways has God blessed you and shown you His faithfulness? 5. Start praising. Sing Christmas songs, but not for the sake of happiness and "holiday cheer." Sing the words that mean something in light of Christ's work on the Cross and God's grace & faithfulness. Think about the words. Think about their meaning. Think about yourself. 6. When it's time (and you'll know when that is), roll up the window and drive away. But don't leave until you *know* it's time. 7. And next time you don't feel "in the Christmas mood," remember those stars... God's faithfulness... the beauty of Jesus Christ. That's what I do. Let me know if it works for you! =) Cheers, Sarah  11.24.08 - 11:35am
brandi - j*- i just love the holidays. i too grew up in sunny california so i haven't experienced a white christmas. when it gets cold and starts raining here in the OC it starts snowing in big bear. My husband, son and i drive a little over an hour on a saturday morning and ta dah....SNOW! we play all day in the snow and go as often as we can through out the winter. we build snowmen, go down hills in sleds and make snow angels. oh man it's the greatest!! i'm counting down the days til i can go back to the snow!!!  11.24.08 - 11:27am
wrecklessgirl - i went to a middle eastern bazaar in san jose and picked up some fresh spices, dried oranges, cloves, cinamon sticks---boiled a hug pot of water on the stove, and poured in all of the above. i honestly have NEVER made potpourri, but love the scent of all those things, and i figured, if i simmered them all together...what would smell better? i let the mixure simmer on *really* low over a few days and the house smells so garshdarngood...it's heavenly! takes you RIGHT to christmastown, sister! especially when you live in california. plus, the scent your nose picks up can affect your mood, your memory, and your entire sense of well-being.  11.24.08 - 11:23am
Melissa - Since its season of giving, buy 5 small gifts, and give them to 5 strangers. Make sure you wear your Santa hat! I always give my time to the homeless shelter around here around this time of year and it gets me in the spirit :) I live in Canada and we got tons of cold weather and tons of snow! I would share if I could hahaha! I would also give you the wet boots and the flu every second week ;) haha!  11.24.08 - 11:20am
Jen - Spread the love and donate a goat at worldvision.org. It's kind of like a reindeer, except it carries presents of a different sort (milk, cheese, yogurt, income) to its recipients!!  11.24.08 - 11:18am
Anne Nunn Photography - I like Lindsays' idea! :) Very sweet, and it is really giving - to give part of the actual Holiday!   11.24.08 - 11:16am
Christopher Grisanti - There is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas". But, since this is supposed to be an unconventional idea, I'll challenge you and JD to get up and dance like the Peanuts characters during the scene where they're supposed to be rehearsing for the Christmas play. Polo can pretend to be Snoopy. When you settle down from the crazy laughter you've danced yourselves into, sit down to watch the rest of the DVD and pay attention to Linus when he tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about. Because, really. . .isn't that the true meaning? MERRY CHRISTMAS, JASMINE STAR!!! (Peanuts gang singing "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" in the background)  11.24.08 - 11:10am
Amy - I once bought a bunch of $5 Starbucks gift cards and stuck them in Christmas cards. Then on black Friday I went to Target and gave them out to some of the workers. Their shocked expressions were hilarious!  11.24.08 - 11:08am
Lauren Bryson - Last Thanksgiving we served a Thanksgiving meal at a christian mission rescue. It was the most humbling experience. We got to serve them and be a witness to them showing how much God loves them. And every year we go driving around looking at Christmas lights!  11.24.08 - 11:08am
Mollie - Go to Disneyland! That ALWAYS puts me in the Christmas Spirt. I know, kind of childish, but I love it!  11.24.08 - 11:07am
Christina - In case you want to see the pic. ; )  11.24.08 - 11:05am
Korey - My mom moved here from upstate New York when she was 12, and she used to pretend that the rows of plastic-covered crops was a field of snow (totally do-able if you squint a little!). But seriously, send her to Candy Cane Lane in RSM. The decorations, mobs of people, and fake snow always manage to get me in the mood! Of course go at night when it's cold, wear a coat and mittens, and play carols the whole way there.  11.24.08 - 11:04am
Christina - I love it! Flip flops?! I think that is great, especially being a Wisconsin, girl. This morning I posted a pic on my blog about the first snow fall, this morning. The further I began to walk and head toward the train, I had to pull out my camera and capture the moment for my kids. : ) They were s excited. I bet you could put the ac on; ) bake a few batches of cookies, while listening to charlie brown and the peanuts gang, christmas c.d and wrap a sweet doll and a tonka truck, to donate at one of the many toy bins in your area. Don't forget to get a shot of gingerbread flavoring in a iced coffee for you and hubby as you snuggle together and talk about the things you love most about the holidays. ; )  11.24.08 - 11:02am
Phoebe - It's like you're in Australia! Go Aussie! BBQ for Christmas!  11.24.08 - 11:01am
Jen May - I know what you mean! I grew up both in Hawaii and California. Just your generosity and thoughtfulness to friends, family, and the community always goes a long way in getting ahead of the holiday spirit.  11.24.08 - 10:59am
Charlene - Well i live in Western Australia, and the weather's similar (last Boxing Day it was 44 or 45 degrees Celsius, so maybe a touch hotter). What do we do to get in the Christmas spirit? In the grand Aussie tradition, drink and make merry! Nothing like cocktails with a bunch of good friends to put you in the spirit, no matter what the time of the year :)  11.24.08 - 10:59am
Pascal - Eat lots lots and lots of Christmas candies and other delicacies ^^ If you don't get into the spirit you will at least get some good stuff in your stomach XD You're lucky, it's freezing here.  11.24.08 - 10:51am
Christine - Christmas decorations!! Lights, mistle toes, snowmen decorations. All that jazz. I used to love this as a kid but after a bit of a mess one year my mom banned it and I haven't tried it since but you can put fake snow on your windows and tree. It comes in a can kind of like hair spray. If you want I can send you some snow too! Ha ha ha. I am in Nova Scotia and we got around a foot of snow on Saturday! Merry Christmas :)  11.24.08 - 10:48am
Lindsay - Well, I lived in the notheast most of my life and relocated to the south, it isn't as hot as CA, but I know what you mean. I would either volunteer at a Salvation Army, go to a children's orphanage dressed as Santa and pass out toys or cookies with Polo of course, kids love dogs. Or go to a local hospital, my aunt does this every year, go to the hospital, maybe the children or elderly section, with Polo and pass out candy or small presents, or what I try to do every year is on Christmas Eve or Christmas night: take out someone you know who has no family around for Christmas. I usually take the person out for dinner at a nice place, and we get dessert, and one time we went driving around town finding the most beautifully decorated houses for Christmas. It is a great thing to do, yes it takes away your Christmas or Christmas Eve night, but it truly brings the full meaning of Christmas into someones life for one night. Yes that person doesn't need to be homeless or helpless, but if they are alone for the holidays, they could use a friend. I hope these idea's really get you and your friend in the holiday spirit.  11.24.08 - 10:46am
Regina White - Wow I wish I was wearing flipflops. You could always blow up some photos of the snow and put them on your windows. Bake some Christmas cookies (Can you smell that fresh baked aroma) while listening to Christmas tunes and bundle up in a scarf, mittens and snuggle with JD and Polo while watching some Christmas movies and think about how nice it would be to really be sitting in a coffee shop in Michigan with the snow falling outside. Today we had our first real snow and when it first fell it looked picture purfect and WHITE; very beautiful. Until I had to go out and clean off my car and put on my boots. LOL...Oh! But thankgoodness for a car starter.   11.24.08 - 10:37am
Jen - Unconventional . . . . . go to the beach and build a sand snowman, download the fireplace screensaver to your computer while you, JD and Polo snuggle up with cocoa and a blanket.   11.24.08 - 10:35am
aletha :: pearls events - I think a great way to get into the holiday spirit is to make some handmade Christmas cards and go down to your local nursing home and pass them out. The folks would LOVE it, and sharing an hour or two with people who do not have anyone else to share the holidays with would make their year. And the holiday card is SURE to brighten up their standard room. Happy holidays, Jasmine.   11.24.08 - 10:34am
Tiffany - It's simple, at the end of the day Christmas is really about giving. Find someone less fortunate and give to them. It does not have to be something of monetary value, anything will do...even your time. When you see the way you have affected someone else and the empowerment you have given to their heart, you will know you have found the Christmas spirit. Rain, snow or sunshine!  11.24.08 - 10:34am
Fishgirl - The best way to get into the Christmas spirit is to: Listen to Christmas Music, the Happies tunes , smile to everybody and wish every person a very happy Christmas. that is the best way to get into the spirit and poeple will see the love of God through you!!  11.24.08 - 10:29am
Rachel - Because you live in the great state of California, specifically Southern California, you are able to experience a very special event. You live just one hour away from a winter wonderland...that's right, Lake Arrowhead/Big Bear Mountain. This year for Christmas, take the family, even the extended, and head up for a week in the mountains. (If you feel adventurous, head up towards Yosemite where you are sure to find Christmas waiting for you.) Then once you are done with a week of wind and snow, drive on down and go for a tan at beautiful Laguna Beach!  11.24.08 - 10:25am
Anna Kim - Watching the old Frosty the Snowman claymation movie with a cup of hot coco while burning a winter scented candle or potpourri always gets me into the Christmas spirit....well, in Maui at least.   11.24.08 - 10:23am
Michelle - Because Christmas was so sad last year (we lost my grandfather after a battle w/ cancer). This year I am going all out!!! Pop in a CD of great non traditional x-mas music (think hip hop and alternative versions of the traditional stuff). I'll also be cutting down my own tree this year (Yes born and raised in the bay area, I'll be heading to Santa Cruz mountains to do so). The fake one is going back in the garage. Also instead of the normal red and white trimmings I'm doing Hot Pink and Lime green...ooh yea. Freshly baked cookies and family and friends over for hot chocolate (try the salted caramel from starbucks! YUM!!!). J, let me know if you want a copy of the best x-mas music cd ever created!!  11.24.08 - 10:19am
Gemma Clarke - Visit Finland and go see the REAL Santa Claus! His office is on the Arctic Circle. http://www.santaclausvillage.info/eng/main.htm I just went there last month and it is the best way to get into the holiday spirit! Even the flu didn't stop me meet the jolly man...and afterwards, I walked out of his office and it started to snow...and then I collapsed because of my flu....but the Christmas spirit kept me going and I charged on, enjoying the Christmas spirit that radiated throughout the village! My photos are here if you want to have a look: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=63103&l=79390&id=524829501 Official Santa pic hasn't been scanned yet...cost me 25 euro though! Good luck with getting in the Christmas spirit...hope this helps :) P.S I am in Australia so we always have hot Christmases!  11.24.08 - 10:19am
Tracy - Born and bread a California girl, but now a Floridian, which includes year round humidity, flip flops and sunglasses. The way hubby and I get into the spirit for our 3 boys? The Saturday before Christmas (nighttime), we pack up the jeep with Christmas music, cookies, and ourselves and we search for the BESTEST (I know that isn't a word) decorated house. We oooh, awww, point, and shout our favorites. And then we come home and think about what Santa has packed in his bag for US. I see Christmas everytime I see the twinkle in my boys' eyes when they pick up a snowglobe, run down the toy aisle screaming " I WANT THIS and this and this and this and this....", or tell me they just can't wait until Santa comes. and then during the non-traditional Christmas shopping season (you know, January to June) whenever we are in a store, I tell my boys that the security cameras are SANTA CAMS and that He's watching you all year long. And you know what? it works.   11.24.08 - 10:18am
Melanie - my husband and I run a youth outreach and we always teach our youth to visit the ones who are often the loneliest during this time of year.... So we usually call up a few retirement/senior homes and split up into groups and go from room to room singing Christmas Carols. Their smiles make it all worth it!!  11.24.08 - 10:17am
Amanda - I live in Indiana so I have always had frigid weather for Christmas. I vote you take yourself down to the mall and sit on Santa's lap. They may kick you out but at least it would be fun. :) If they won't actually let you get up there, just watch all the kids in line and enjoy their faces (joyous or screaming) when they finally get their turn.   11.24.08 - 10:16am
Karen - I grew up in San Diego, but my husband and I just moved to Georgia this summer so I am experiencing my first bout of really cold weather. who knew it got so cold here? Anyways, Christmas spirit for me is always about being around my family. and the decorations. My parents must have like...15 crates of christmas decorations by now. Once we are all together at my parents, i cant help but feel in the christmas spirit. Until we fly out there for the holidays though...i think ill put on some christmas music, watch love actually, eat lots of candy canes, and start christmas shopping!! (though i promised my husband I would wait until after thanksgiving).  11.24.08 - 10:14am
Jessica Lynn - oh jas, i have the perfect way for you to get in the christmas spirit....come to cincinnati, OH for a weekend :) !!! There will be plenty of snow and we can sing christmas carols and go sledding. Just let us know when your flight comes in. Oh, and you should probably pack more than a tank top and flip flops!  11.24.08 - 10:14am
Katie - Ok, I'm from minnesota and I married a southern californian, so I have no hope of returning to the north any time soon. :( So, here is what I do to bring the north to the south. #1: Sign up for "A cookie a day" at myrecipes.com. You'll get a daily email dose of goodness. Seeing the wonderful recipes of gingerbread, sugar cookies and peppermint snaps will sure get you in the mood to bake (even if you don't follow through on it!). #2: Decorate when it's dark. My hubby and I decorated yesterday when it got dark, turned on the christmas lights, and blasted mariah carey's "All I want for Christmas is you". That way you can pretend it snowed. #3: While you decorate make yummy hot cocoa with peppermint. #4: During the decorating process, talk about what special things you want to do during the holidays to help others in need. We saw a homeless family on the street earlier in the day and had wished we had their contact information so we could bless them with a basket of goodies on christmas! Even if I don't get a itunes card, I am majorly in the christmas mood because of the above things! Sorry so long!  11.24.08 - 10:14am
tish - When I lived in CA, the thing that worked was joining a group of people at my church to pack gift boxes for families in need. Imagine my surprise when later that week I helped take PB&J sandwiches to a line of homeless people outside...and the first guy in line was a guy who had worked tirelessly packing boxes for OTHERS. If there had been snow at that moment, my warm heart would have melted it. It really is bette rto give than receive. But if you still aren't in the spirit, how about a pedicure with all of the reindeer names on your toes...oh and Santa, too!?   11.24.08 - 10:13am
Christine - Being up in Canada we have NO problem getting into the Christmas spirit with mountains and mountains of snow outside our door. But, I also like to curl up and listen to some christmas music on the fireplace channel!! Nothing says christmas like a crackling tv! ; )  11.24.08 - 10:11am
Meghan - KELLY - Californians have christmas tree lots all over the place where you can buy real trees - they are probably shipped in but you can't go a block around town without seeing a tree lot. We cut our own down one year, but my parents recently got a fake tree because of my brother's allergies.   11.24.08 - 10:04am
Meghan - I'm with ya, I'm a California girl born and raised. The only way I get in the holiday spirit is to make christmas cookies (gingerbread, spice, chocolate chip, etc.) and putting lights inside and outside the house. Sipping on hot chocolate and staring at our decorated tree usually does the trick too :-)  11.24.08 - 10:02am
Amanda - Oh my word...I just love the whole 'dryer lint trap' entrance. I grew up in Maine, and my biggest question was..."How does the big guy not get burned on the way down?" My father's response: "Santa just happens to also be a fireman." To get in the Holiday Spirit (ok...so I still LIVE in Maine, so the only time it doesn't snow is June and July), I do perform a random act of anonymous kindness for someone who needs it. Giving is as gleeful as it gets.  11.24.08 - 9:59am
Kelly - Instant Snow! ( http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/science/79ea/ ) All the snow with none of the cold! In Buffalo, NY we have snow. It's cold and I have to bundle up when I go out. I would trade it in a second for some CA weather! I do have a question for the Cali people... What do you do for trees? Do you get fake trees? Do they ship in real ones? Do you decorate palm trees? =)  11.24.08 - 9:59am
Emma - I would say turn down the AC until its really cold and make some chili and cornbread and decorate the tree with your fam :) Oh, and be sure to watch The Santa Clause with Tim Allen- best holiday movie! :)   11.24.08 - 9:58am
Jamie Delaine - I can't imagine Christmas without a little bit of chilly weather. I've only seen ONE white christmas here in BC, but still, I love the frigid air. I have no ideas....move to Vancouver? ;)  11.24.08 - 9:55am
Gina - I am with ya, in fact I just blogged about a trying to catch a "fall-like" pic in South Texas. Come on Santa...bring on winter.... oh yea, and the Wii  11.24.08 - 9:53am
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