California is one of the largest states in the US. Despite the fact that there are mountain resorts and forests, most residents celebrate Christmas with their families in their native places. This means that they will see no snow: the climate in California is mostly mild, snowless. Read about how Californians reinforce the spirit of Christmas with holiday decorations in today's story from Travellizy Team.
Not only believers celebrate
According to sociological research, 90% of Americans celebrate the Christmas holidays. But the religious component of the celebration becomes increasingly less significant every year. Fewer households use Catholic and Christian symbols to decorate their homes. But nativity scenes, as a symbol of the birth of Jesus Christ, can still be seen in some courtyards. Endless litigation over whether it is constitutional to set up a Christmas tree, images of Santa Claus with reindeer on government buildings is also one of the American traditions.
A fine for those who do not decorate their house
When buying a home in some areas, the buyer signs a contract with the local community of residents living in the same location. This contract includes strict rules and regulations on the exterior of the house. Some contracts specify that homeowners undertake to decorate their properties for public holidays. Those who violate the agreement may be fined. This approach provides a neat appearance for the entire street, and regulates the cases we know as “take down the tree, take down the tree!” Sometimes in order for the street to look in the same style, the management of the owners distributes the same type of decorations to the residents. More commonly, home decoration depends on the taste and preferences of each family.
Christmas tree is visible from the street
In almost every house, you can see a Christmas tree without going inside. Owners of one-story American houses are cool with the fact that the curtains are open in the living room. It is believed that there is no one to spy on the family and no reason for it. Therefore, Christmas trees are placed near the largest window, and they please all passers-by. There is usually one of the TVs in the living room, so you can often watch from the outside a New Year's movie as well. In the US, these are often Home Alone and Die Hard. Kids prefer How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Almost always, the hostess of the house decorates the Christmas table with decorative seasonal bouquets. Other details are also matched to them: napkins, glasses, plates, tablecloth. This element of decor is called a centerpiece. This is an old tradition that never loses its relevance. The photo below shows one of the decorations of the Filoli family of millionaires, which we talked about in the article “Filoli Historic House & Garden: English Park on the Hills of California”.
Now, it is carefully kept in their house-museum.
Evening walk and treasure hunt
To amuse children, some families take part in Christmas treasure hunt during the walk. Of course, this does not mean material goods, but curious decorations. The neighborhoods with many decorated houses prepare a map with indicated places for searches in advance.
Finding and counting all the snowmen, spotting the boatman, taking a picture with Santa - sounds like a challenge! Evening walks to see decorated houses is one of Americans’ favorite entertainments on these holidays.
But do not think that such magical streets will delight those walking for a long time: very arely, a decoration can make it to the New Year. Christmas trees are usually taken down in the morning of December 25th.
Restrictions due to COVID-19
In 2020, almost all public events were canceled. There were too many people even outdoors, so some houses decided to cancel the usual festivities. For families who have spent decades preparing for the Christmas holidays, this has not been an easy decision. But since the safety and health of fellow citizens are in the first place, everyone reacted with understanding to this situation.
Many families have canceled face-to-face meetings this year and are celebrating the holidays online. Video calls are safe and comfortable, although they certainly won't replace the atmosphere of a family meeting. Amusement parks have been also subject to restrictions. New Year's musicals and performances have been replaced by drive-through entertainment: the family enters the park by car and inspects the scenery in 20-30 minutes without leaving the car.
Fruit and winter mood
December in California is with the lowest rainfall, and temperatures rarely drop below 5-6°C. For some fruit-bearing trees, this is harvest time. Therefore, to see a Christmas tree and ripe persimmon with lemons near the house is quite a common thing.
If you are traveling during the Christmas season, check in advance if restaurants and cafes are open on your way. On a public holiday, many of them are closed or open only in the first half of the day. Therefore, it is not surprising to be left not only without a festive dinner, but also without dinner at all, especially in remote areas like national parks.
We wish our readers a wonderful New Year's mood, regardless of the weather and climate. And when the roads call you to distant and not so distant lands, our Travellizy Team will help you plan your trip!