Coming from the Northwest, it's very strange to be in the tropics during the holidays. I know our family thinks it's great that we're having sun and warm weather now, but for us it brings home the fact that we're not "home" for the holidays. We have a wonderful card on the wall from my brother and sister-in-law of their dogs in the snow and I so wish I could be there to share the fun. If we ever are able to go back we'll have to put coats on our Setters as their hair is thin and they crave the heat.
In the States we've all moaned the fact that Christmas starts so early with decorations and music popping up on the heals of Thanksgiving. It does seem to be overly commercial, but when you're away from it all you realize that you miss the color, the music and the joy of Christmas. I miss having people wish a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays with a smile . The small things like putting what you can in the Salvation Army container and seeing the kids so excited. Here it's almost a non-event. There are a few decorations around, but none of the warmth and joy of Christmas. No one says "merry Christmas" or even felize navidad (?) ( I still don't speak Spanish).
We are blessed with wonderful friends down here and will share in Christmas dinner with a large group. We always have a good time and share terrific food when we get together.
Of course, the main thing we miss so much is to be able to share hugs and the beauty of the holidays with our family. Both our kids are having huge struggles and I wish we could give them our love in person and had the means to alleviate some of their trials. Christmas isn't just about jingle bells and red ribbons, it's about love and goodwill and the story of Christmas. I just wish the whole world had more of it in their hearts now and all year long. Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR to anyone who happens to stumble upon my ramblings. Blessings