So Cal vs Wisconsin: What Gets You into the Holiday Spirit?

Growing up in So Cal, I was always opposed to seeing or hearing anything Chrismas related before Thanksgiving. Now that I live in a place that has real seasons, my Holiday Spirit is growing in a way it never has before. I think it’s the weather….

*Holiday Season in So Cal*

The first inhibitor of my Holiday Spirit was my age. Christmas was a bit stressful when I was a teen and young adult because I’m the oldest of four kids. Trying to find the best presents for my Mom and siblings was always a bit of an adventure. Plus when you’re in high school and college, November and December mean midterms and finals. Now I’m all grown-up and my youngest siblings are in college, so gift exchanges are much easier and I no longer associate December and exams.

Confession: Yes, the So Cal malls were crowded. Aren’t malls in every state crowded? I didn’t mind the crowds so much because it was normal. And I do miss those visits to the Brea Mall Santa Claus.

The other major inhibitor to my Holiday Spirit was the exponential increase in traffic. Now that I work from home, I have one less reason to dread the holiday. For the past four years, Halloween has been the beginning of an awful 3-month nightmare. My 45 min one-way commute to work would double, and I’d spend enough time in traffic to feel like I was coming unhinged.

*Holiday Season (thus far) in Pewaukee, Wisconsin*

The first time I woke up to see the grass white with a light frost, I felt like a kid on Christmas. When my husband told me it had frosted, I woke my bulldog so she could share my excitement.

“Gjalla! Come see! Come look outside! Look at all the white stuff! Come on, let’s go outside!”


I loved looking at the ice crystals on the leaves and blades of grass. It looked so beautiful, and it wasn’t cold enough outside for me to feel uncomfortable. (Though I’m sure that day is coming soon)

I know the bitter cold is coming, but I’m excited about the first snowfall. I’ve never lived in a place that gets snow, but I’ve seen snow before. When I was little, my Mom would get all four of her kids all bundled up and we’d drive a few hours to Mountain High where we could go sledding and build a snowman in the hills surrounding the ski and snowboard resort.

A few days ago there was a precipitation that wasn’t water. I called it “snow” but my husband called it a “dusting” or “flaking” or something. I’m sure it’s the snow equivalent of the rain we call “sprinkling”.

Regardless, it was snow of some kind – the first of any kind of snow I’ve experienced since moving to Wisconsin. I broke out the brand-new North Face coat, ripped the tags off, and bundled myself up. I put Gjalla’s Packers doggy coat on, and we went to enjoy the snowfall. In that moment, I felt the Christmas spirit surging. It is going to be a White Christmas for sure! I can’t wait.


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