CELEBRATING A WARM CHRISTMAS! (12.24.15)
How to Celebrate a Warm Weather Christmas
Although a classic Christmas involves cold weather and lots of snow, plenty of people celebrate in milder conditions with their own traditions. Whether this is your first warm weather Christmas or you’re an experienced planner looking for new ideas, celebrating the holidays in warm temperatures gives lots of opportunities to make your day unique and all yours.
To have a great Christmas in warm weather, mix new recipes and decorations with old favorite traditions. Serve up Christmas dishes from the Southern Hemisphere, like seafood or roasted chicken and rice, or add a fresh salad to adapt a traditional meal for the heat. Eat dinner outside and go for a walk to take advantage of the warm weather. Spice up your Christmas decorations with bright, beach-themed ornaments, and light a few candles for a cozy feel.For tips on bringing the snow to you with faux snowflakes and icicles, scroll down!
Decorating for a Warm Weather Christmas
Buy a Christmas tree from a nearby seller for a traditional tree.You may not be able to cut down your own tree if you live in a warmer area, but there is likely a Christmas tree lot nearby! Go online and look up Christmas tree sellers near you, or ask local friends and neighbors where you can go to buy your tree.
- Depending on how far the trees have been transported and how well the trees have grown in a particular year, real Christmas trees may be expensive.
- Ask the lot if they can help you tie the tree to the top of your car for ease of transport.
Put up a fake or alternative Christmas tree to save money.If you can’t afford a real Christmas tree or don’t want the cleanup associated with it, go for the cheaper, more eco-friendly option of a fake or alternative tree. You can buy a fake tree online or at most home improvement stores. Buy before the holiday season for the best deals. For a more modern, warm weather twist, you could also go for an alternative Christmas tree. Some non-pine tree alternatives include:
- A succulent or cactus tree. Buy one at a nursery or home improvement store and hang a few ornaments or some ribbon for a Christmas-y feel. (To avoid thorns, use a fake cactus!)
- A large, hanging print of a tree. Look for one online and string up some lights for added warmth.
- String lights. On a blank area of wall, zig zag your lights back and forth to make a triangular tree shape, draping them over thumbtacks to make sure they stay put.
Deck your tree with bright or beachy ornaments.Hang up shells, sea glass, plastic fish, and little boats for a beachy, nautical feel. You can also embrace the spring-y weather by decking the tree with ornaments in bright hues of blue, orange, yellow, and pink. You could even hang citrus fruits, like lemons, tangerines, or key limes, for bright, cheap, and unique decorations that retain a holiday flair.
Use candles to create a cozy atmosphere even in warm weather.Look for candles with Christmas cookie scents, like vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar. For more natural Christmas scents, opt for cranberry, citrus, or even evergreen--especially if you have a fake Christmas tree and are after that traditional pine scent. Beyond their festive smells, candles will make your home feel cozy even in warmer weather.
- Choose small candles if you’re worried about them making a warm house even stuffier.
Incorporate fake snow and plastic icicles for a more traditional look.Hang sparkly snowflakes and icicles on your tree for a taste of White Christmas without the actual snow. Arrange fluffy cotton batting under your tree and on mantels to bring some freshly fallen snow to a warm climate. You could even weave some through the branches of your tree for a fresh, forest-y look.
Decorate your house with lots of Christmas lights.One great part of celebrating Christmas in a warm climate is that you don’t have to worry about bad weather--so you can really go all-out with your Christmas lights! String some up along the eaves of your house and on any trees or bushes you have outside. If you live in an apartment, lay some along your balcony railing or around your doorway.
- You can also put up inflatable characters in your front yard.
Bring out the Christmas movies, books, and music.Play music in the car and around the house as you wrap presents or make cookies. Watch a few movies in the days before Christmas and read an old favorite book before bed. The nostalgia will get you feeling warm and cozy, even if it’s not quite cold enough to curl up in a blanket.
Dressing and Cooking for a Warm Christmas
Try Christmas dinners from the Southern Hemisphere.Since December is the middle of summer for people in the Southern Hemisphere, traditional Christmas dishes are a little different than those celebrated in the North. If your Christmas is shaping up to be a warm one, try some of these tried-and-true warm weather dishes for an adventurous, flavorful dinner:
- Seafood or cold meats, served in Australia and New Zealand.
- Turkey marinated in champagne or cachaca, a liquor made from sugarcane, a tradition from Brazil.
- Roasted chicken stuffed with coconut rice, or in a stew, served for Christmas in Tanzania.
Adapt a traditional Christmas dinner to your own liking.If you’d rather stick to your own traditional Christmas meal, feel free. This might mean roasting a turkey, cooking potatoes, or preparing a casserole. You can also adapt the menu as you see fit; instead of a soup for a starting dish, for example, you could serve a cool, fresh salad.
- If you’re worried about your kitchen getting hot during the preparation, ask people to mingle in another room while you get the heavy cooking out of the way, or do it before guests arrive.
Serve up both warm and cool drinks to sip on.The warm weather means you can offer an assortment of hot and cold drinks to suit everyone’s tastes. Offer hot chocolate, coffee, or even a warm mulled wine for those who want a cozy, warm drink. On the chilled side, you can try:
- Juice, soda, and apple cider for nonalcoholic options.
- Mimosas. Mix ¼ of a glass of champagne and ¾ of a glass of orange juice for a simple drink that everyone likes.
- Raspberry Martini fizzes. Mix 12 fluid ounces (350 mL) of martini rosso vermouth with 5 fluid ounces (150 mL) of gin and place in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle teaspoon (2.5 mL) of sugar into champagne glasses. Pour in the martini and top with frozen raspberries and sparkling wine. Serves 8.
Prepare no-bake treats if you don’t want to use your oven.Keep your kitchen cool by whipping up some sweet Christmas treats that don’t require an oven. Lay out a make-your-own sundae bar, complete with marshmallows, chocolate sauce, red and green sprinkles, and even pieces of Christmas cookies! You could also whip up some chocolate fudge and top with Christmas sprinkles. And you can never go wrong with a no-bake cheesecake for Christmas dessert.
Serve Christmas dinner outside if the weather is nice.Set up your tables and chairs outside for an afternoon Christmas dinner under the sun, or string up some twinkly lights and serve up your dinner in the evening if it stays warm enough. Light some candles and curl up in a blanket to stay cozy and warm.
- For an outdoor dinner, keep the food simple and casual. You can go with a traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, or mix things up with an outdoor barbeque!
Wear festive clothes that will keep you cool.It’s easier than you’d think to adapt your typical holiday sweaters for the warm weather! Pair a long sleeve shirt with capri pants for women, or nice shorts for men. Leave the scarf at home, but show off your Christmas spirit with a Santa hat or reindeer ears. For really hot weather, go with a red or green short-sleeve shirt. Women can stay classy and cool with red or green dresses.
- It’s okay to be a little less formal in warm weather. If you’re worried about being dressed-up enough for a party or other event, check the dress code with your host.
Making Your Own Warm Weather Traditions
Go for a post-dinner walk or hike.Enjoy the weather and avoid the post-dinner food coma by heading outside for a relaxing walk. You can stroll around your neighborhood and take a look at the Christmas lights and decorations or, if you had an earlier dinner, go for a hike through a nearby park or canyon. This is also a great way to get some fresh air and get moving after a big day of eating.
Hit the beach for a unique, relaxing Christmas.Pair your bathing suit with a Santa hat, grab a few towels and some sunscreen, and head to the beach for a Christmas of swimming and sunbathing! Bring a few Christmas cookies to munch on in between dips. Get in some exercise with walks by the water and bring portable speakers to sing Christmas carols in the sand.
Head to an ice-skating rink for a taste of cold.If you want a quick break from the warm weather, spend a few hours doing loops at an ice skating rink! Rent skates there and take breaks to warm up with hot chocolate. Wear your coziest sweater, scarf, and hat and enjoy the cold before heading back out to warm, beautiful weather.
- Look up outdoor rinks in your area as well to get the best of both worlds--the chilly ice skating with the warm weather!
Celebrate with local warm weather traditions if you’re traveling.If you’re on Christmas vacation in a warm place, you probably aren’t as familiar with local traditions. Look up activities online or ask friends or family in the area, or a concierge at your hotel, for suggestions. Here are a few examples of local holiday traditions that you could be a part of:
- In Honolulu, Hawaii, Santa will pull up on the beach in an outrigger canoe to greet beachgoers and pose for pictures. Later on, the famous Christmas Boat Parade will take sale in Honolulu Harbor.
- In Phoenix, Arizona, the Phoenix Zoo sets up a Polar Slide: a long track to “sled” down in an inflatable tube.
- In Los Angeles, California, you can visit the Beverly Center mall’s Ice Palace, featuring a huge, snowglobe-like dome and a snow and lights show.
Go to a Christmas festival or lights celebration.Many cities in warm weather climates take advantage of the mild temperature to host big outdoor festivals, featuring huge light displays, fake snow, and delicious Christmas treats. You can walk around and marvel at the lights, take pictures, and sip on warm drinks while getting into the Christmas spirit! Look online to see if there’s a celebration around you.
- In New Orleans, for example, the “Miracle on Fulton Street” celebration takes place in a big pedestrian plaza filled with a huge Christmas tree, roasted chestnuts with hot chocolate, live entertainment, and fake snow showers every hour.
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