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Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Warm Green Christmas Day

Years ago I can remember saying that a particularly warm Christmas morning just did not feel like Christmas because of the temperature. Perhaps growing up in North Carolina at the foot of the Virginia mountains made snow seem magical, and something to wish for each Christmas. However, a number of years in Canada dealing with snow and cold made a green Christmas look very nice. Today as I look at a Christmas morning temperature of nearly sixty degrees Fahrenheit, I actually feel sorry for my friends in State College, Pennsylvania and Boston. They are trapped by geography. State College is nearly thirty degrees cooler than on the coast. While Boston has warmed to only twenty degrees cooler than the Crystal Coast, the walk for the morning paper at forty degrees Fahrenheit will require a coat. Perhaps shedding my coat is what I have grown to love the most about a green Christmas.
Bundling up is a fact of life in the north when the snow flies. With children you often feel like life is a continuous dressing and undressing. Perhaps the greatest freedom gained on the coast is the freedom to not wear a jacket.

We recently got to taste some seriously cold weather. We were visiting Roanoke, Va early the week before Christmas. One morning we were greeted with a low temperature of ten degrees Fahrenheit and winds gusting to forty miles per hour. It was weather where you could not ignore a coat. It was cold enough that your coat stayed on when coming back to your cold car after a quick dash to a store. I even had to dig out a pair of gloves for the cold Roanoke weather.

The cold even turned shopping for groceries into a test of wills. It was hard not to think back to the previous week weekend when it had been warm enough to wear shorts and take the boat for a ride down the river.

While the cold weather seems to make us want to hunker down in our homes, the warmth seems to draw us out of our homes. It is funny how you adjust the triggers that prepare you for the seasons. While seeing snow used to make me ready for winters and the holidays, now the yard turning brown and temperatures in the forties are all I need to feel like the holidays are just around the corner.

I am certain that getting ready for the holidays is a lot easier without having to fight the cold. Going from store to store loses the pressure of getting to a warm spot. Just the fact that hurrying to beat the cold is no longer important takes some stress out of the holidays. Then there is the pleasure of putting up decorations without your hands freezing.

Even the walk to get the morning paper becomes more of a stroll with perhaps the opportunity to chat with a neighbor. My willingness to have a morning chat at the mailbox is more than doubled at sixty degrees. Exchanging holiday pleasantries does not become a test of who can stand the cold the longest.

The one thing I do miss about a green Christmas is that it is too warm to wear my Santa hat.

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