Friday, December 2, 2011

In Defense of the Season: A Tale of Two Falls

When I read Hilary's previous post on the lack of a fall, I was dismayed. I agree with most of her statements, yet I feel I must say a few words for the "strangest fall" either of us have experienced. (Another preface to this post: I am not from San Antonio. Texas, if you remember your rudimentary American geography, is the second largest state in the US. Where I grew up is a six hour drive from where we live now.)

No leaves turned. This is true in San Antonio, which to me is a weird ecosystem where oaks and other deciduous trees live side by side with various cacti. A note on the weather: the weather is warmer than we are accustomed to. However, I think the weather should be placed into this year's historically hot context (read the link). If you don't read it, know that it was HOT this summer. Upwards of 100+ for days on end. So for me, when it gets as high as the 80's, it's uncomfortably warm for November, but also significantly cooler than the summer.
I reminds me, just a little, of being a missionary for our church. I served for two years in Mozambique, and my first experiences in the country happened around Christmas time. Now, because it is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed. So, imagine my surprise to wake up Christmas day, the sun up at 4:30 AM, the day's temperature quickly rising to the mid-90's, no Christmas trees (a palm tree seemed a nice alternative!). It certainly was an eye-opener.

No desire for "fall" foods. I guess we haven't baked many pumpkin pies, or had our lion's share of hot chocolate. Once again inciting the warmer weather, maybe our climate clocks did not go out for these food items. Yet, Texans and some of their businesses have thought this through. Blue Bell, which I believe makes the best ice cream in the nation (if not world), rolled out holiday flavors. One of them, Spiced Pumpkin Pecan, melted our hearts. While it is ice cream, this flavor was warm to the taste: it must have been the spices. And we did eat our fair share of pie at Thanksgiving, which brings me to another point...

None of the old Thanksgiving traditions. Thanksgiving was a blast at Merrimack! It was nice to visit with family, and for Hilary, it was her first time meeting these relatives. The food was excellent, and included a mesquite-smoked turkey (a family tradition). I had such a good time, that I did not stop to think whether it was the same for Hilary. I did not know her family listened to the Carpenters Christmas Album or Nat King Cole. I suppose she didn't know my mom likes to bake Christmas breads, and make hot cocoa. We both didn't stop to think of my friend Parker's family's tradition of making gingerbread houses Thanksgiving night.

What I am getting at is all family's have different holiday traditions. As Hilary and I are newly married, we have an opportunity to institute our own. I like the idea of having Christmas music in the kitchen (might I suggest the John Denver-Muppets Holiday Special?), while we bake and prepare a Thanksgiving meal. Hilary hasn't mentioned it, but she made a Christmas wreath for our door. Wouldn't that be a wonderful tradition for us and our kids? While there are rarely (and I mean very rarely) snow flurries in San Antonio, the town still strings up the lights, plays the music (did you know a radio station here started playing Christmas music at least two weeks before Thanksgiving? I mean, 24-hours!), and gets into the Christmas spirit. Next week, Hilary and I will go downtown, to see the Riverwalk's lights. Hopefully, we will remember a camera for the occasion.

What are some suggestions for holiday traditions? How can we make the season feel like Fall or Christmas?


  1. Yay for the shout-out!

    We are trying to figure out the holiday thing ourselves. We went to my parents for Thanksgiving, and will be flying to Detroit for Christmas. Our "tradition," if you will, is essentially a tradition Carolyn has already been practicing for a long time. Once October comes, it's no holds barred when it comes to playing Christmas music. I've actually found it to be rather enjoyable to do it that way!

  2. Brian's family always makes their yearly tamales, and set up luminarias. They also have a wrapping paper matching game that gets bigger every year as they collect new paper from the presents. And don't forget the Decker musical mayhem night!