A SoCal Kind of Christmas

In San Diego International Airport, rays of sunshine blast headlong into the baggage claim area, warming our luggage on the turnstile. As we descend the elevator into main lobby, we New Yorkers can’t help but feel like vampires—the light, the light!  


Near the glass exit doors, the mirrored baubles on the giant, artificial spruce cast shimmery snowflake patterns onto the tiles in delightful contrast to the 78 degree temperature. There is a dynamism born of contrasts in San Diego at Christmastime—the palm trees and the flat blue skies, the piped in Christmas carols that sing of sleigh rides and snowmen. Even the Salvation Army Santa is clad in Bermuda shorts and Ray Ban sunglasses, shrilling that chime of his. There is no scent of roasted chestnuts in the air, only a distinctive mixture of jet fuel and ocean air.


Some might feel that it’s the most un-Christmasy place on Earth, but they are the ones who limit their imaginations to the images of Currier & Ives. For me, this is just the way it has always been, and, anyway, I like a little jalapeno with my roast turkey and cranberry sauce, thank you.


As we pack our bags into the trunk of Mom’s car and merge onto the on ramp that will take us to our glorious week of merrymaking and relaxation, we catch our first silvery glimpse of the Pacific—this, even as our friends back east are hunkering in for the bracing holiday forecast. And, no, none of us in the car is complaining.


About Smallpeace

Michele Karas is a poet, essayist, and longstanding professional copywriter, who currently works for a top-five US book publisher. Her poems and prose have appeared in literary journals, including Tinderbox, THRUSH, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Narrative magazine, among others. Michele holds a BA in Journalism from San Diego State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY, The City College of New York. Find her on Twitter @small_peace.
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11 Responses to A SoCal Kind of Christmas

  1. Barbara Karas says:

    Anothe really beautiful piece! I so enjoy your writing and shared it with friends that I thought would really enjoy it as well. Love Mom

  2. Smallpeace says:

    Thank you, Mom. So appreciate you support. xoxo

  3. Christopher Graham says:

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  4. Alisa says:

    sounds familiar 😉 You make me appreciate it even more ❤

    • Smallpeace says:

      It was such a nice homecoming, Alisa. I only wish we could have seen you at the Boxing Day party. The sun and the beach did wonders for my winter mood. Thanks for reading. xo

  5. Hadiza Dockeray says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post to take me away. Fantastic photos (that sunset shot took my breath away) and a lovely model!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you, Ms. Dockeray. I always think about you when I’m at the beach. You are such a warm-weather spirit. Or maybe it’s the night-blooming jasmine?

  6. Touch2Touch says:

    Do you mean to say you’re from THERE, and yet you’ve come to live HERE in the Northeast? I’ve heard tell San Diego has THE perfect climate of the US. And we don’t. The Northeast has cold, chill, mud, rain, sleet, snow, and now Polar Vortexes (vortices?).
    Are you staying out there in Eden, or are you actually returning to us out of some sense of adventure, or perhaps foolhardiness?

  7. Smallpeace says:

    What is the saying? Pretty isn’t everything? When I lived in SD full-time, I used to refer to it as the land of relentless sunshine. I longed to experience weather…as well as a more vibrant cultural life. But absence does have a way of making the heart grow fonder, and now that I am middle aged and my ballet bones have begun to ache in February, I do have a renewed appreciation for my cheerful homeland. I am so very lucky that I can pop back and forth between coasts. HERE in the Northeast is a more wild, unpredictable beauty. Cold, chill, mud, yes, but also the scent of new mown hay and barnyard animals in the summertime, crackling fires and new fallen snow in February. Just this Sunday I saw 14 chubby Robins plundering our dormant apple tree for the frozen fruit that hadn’t fallen. Survivors they are, those fierce little birds. I like it HERE.

  8. Touch2Touch says:

    Well, good. Lucky for us!

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