In the second of our series of posts about Christmas celebrations around the world, our guest blogger Joy Soto tells us about Christmas in California.
In California, most people start their day with a trip to the nearest local coffee shop for their morning brew (usually Starbucks - there is almost always one lurking within a block or two). On Christmas morning, the extreme addicts (myself included) scramble about the town trying to find any open coffee shop. It can be like a treasure hunt. Once you have discovered where the open coffee shop is located, its part of the Christmas spirit to point the way for others who are aimlessly searching for their morning fix.
My memories of Christmas day in California include surfing, hiking, and of course the usual gatherings with friends and family. Mostly, one is so happy to be off work, and the traffic is actually light (very unusual). Many folks leave the Bay Area to visit friends and family, so the urban areas can feel a bit like a ghost town. Its nice to experience the city without the usual hustle and bustle.
At night, it's tradition to go to the movie theater. (A popular thing to do - some movies open on Christmas day, and the theaters are usually quite busy.) Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so its just a day off for some. Its not "pc" to say "Merry Christmas" anymore, lest you offend someone who isn't christian. There is always a nervous moment for me, wanting to greet my friends and wish them well, but not knowing exactly the correct way to say it without offending.
Moving to Denmark after 3 decades in San Francisco, I can say that I finally understand many of the Christmas traditions such as lights (lots and lots of lights), decorated trees, and nights shared with family and friends by a warm fireplace. And its ok to say "Glædelig Jul".