Warm Weather, Warm Hearts: Holidays in South Florida


Sasha Legagneur, Staff Writer

Whether it due to be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rockettes at Radio City Hall, or the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza, it seems like there is no place for the holidays like the northern United States. Northerners who move down to the South say the wintertime experience is, sadly, not the same. Due to huge differences, such as the difference in weather conditions, many can withdraw from the excitement and joy of this spirited season. Although there are many differences between the two regions and many feel there is no comparison between the North and the South, there are still many ways to spice up the holiday spirit in Florida.


Halloween can be very enjoyable in Florida, largely due to its usual warm weather. It is much easier to go out for a longer time without worrying about the wretched cold. The community structure of some neighborhoods – having a gate and security – can encourage trick-or-treating because parents may feel it is safer to let their children go out; all the houses are closer to each other, which makes candy more accessible and easier for kids to walk around. The South Florida Fairgrounds is also home to Fright Nights, where rides and haunted houses provide Halloween lovers with a fun night out.


A national holiday that can be happily celebrated in Florida is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not about parades or festivals. Rather, it is about spending quality time with family and friends, and remembering all we are thankful for. Although there is no parade in Florida like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, there are still little things that can keep the spirit alive. One way is to help with the cooking, since eating food that has been made by someone else and being a part of the process are two different circumstances. When you include yourself, you show greater interest and help contribute to the holiday’s overall excitement. When it comes to assimilating into the autumn season in general, wearing colors such as orange, red, and yellow, or getting delicious treats like pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, can surely brighten the mood.


Winter holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa can surely be joyful, no matter which state someone is in. Just like Thanksgiving, all three of these celebrations have an extremely important message of background. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ; Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem; and Kwanzaa is a holiday observed by many African Americans to celebrate their cultural heritage and traditions. When you look at holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah that have a religious or spiritual meaning behind them, the celebration becomes less about the materialistic possessions (such as gifts and how many decorations someone has), to a concept that is more impactful and sacred. Looking at the reasons behind the season shows that it doesn’t matter where you are. What really matters is the spirit of your heart.


But for those who enjoy all the other aspects of the holidays, there are many steps to keep up the spirit. For example, setting up the tree with family and friends can be a memorable and special activity to do. Decorating it with ornaments and placing a star on top are also special things to do.

Something that can be done within a group of friends is Secret Santa. This practice involves each participant being given someone’s name and buying them a personal gift. The secret part of it is no one should know who their gift is coming from until they open the present.

Another large-scale activity that is especially accessible to Florida residents is going to Disney World. The parks are beautifully decorated for the season with multiple shows and celebrations. Besides, where else would you want to be than the happiest place on Earth?


Although Florida may not have the same spark and flare as the North during the holiday season, the holidays can be just as enjoyable. It’s not only about the changing of the weather, but it’s also about what it is in your heart. Your experience is what you make it.