100: California Christmas

100: California Christmas

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas

California Christmas

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.

~Harlan Miller

I grew up in Southern California where we’re lucky if we don’t have a heat wave for Christmas. We may brag to our friends back East about spending the holidays at the beach or pool, but on Christmas Day, many of us yearn for a crackling fireplace and snowflakes drifting down from the sky. That’s why a few residents in my small Los Angeles suburb give our town a touch of winter magic every year.

Right before Christmas Eve, they drive a pickup truck into the mountains and pile it high with snow. On their return, they shovel the snow onto the sidewalk in the center of our little downtown and build a seven-foot snowman.

Our local Frosty has stick arms, a carrot nose and a large red muffler. After a hot day, he has sometimes melted enough that his lime buttons protrude on sticks a good inch or so in front of his shrunken belly. But he still stands, beaming a lopsided cranberry grin under the streetlamps.

Children pry chunks of snow from the base to build mini snowmen on a nearby wall and throw snowballs at each other and their parents. We all take pictures with our wintry visitor, sliding hands across the icy snow and laughing at how our fingers tingle with the cold.

I don’t know who those men are, but I am grateful. That single snowman is our White Christmas and Winter Wonderland. He is mittens and mufflers, snowflakes and icicles, red noses and numb toes all rolled into one. And like Christmas itself, we welcome him every year, whether we’re wearing rain boots or flip flops to pose beside him.

~Susan Lendroth

More stories from our partners