S M Natale Writer & Novelist

Where Stories Begin


Written By: S. M. Natale

Or, Christmas In God’s Waiting Room


Living in Florida at Christmas is an interesting and confusing time. Along with many of the common events pertaining to the holiday, as the “normal people” around the world participate in, we Floridians have a few other, let’s call them “traditions” the casual reader just might be interested in.

 santa's helper beach

Firstly, and particularly depending upon which geographical area of Florida is chosen, Florida is considered by many to be the best retirement state. In so, the population of Floridians is well beyond the age of puberty. Hell most of them can’t remember it.

My local area of Central Florida is referred to merely as God’s Waiting Room. Most of us that are full time residents instinctively know when the holiday season is approaching, but we are also provided with a few clues.                                          


Clue #1, we know the Holidays are coming when the arrival of the “snowbirds,” (that’s what we lovingly call those who grace usAmbulance
with their presence six months out of the year), is trumpeted by an amplification in the frequency of sirens. And these folks do not discriminate; they are equal opportunity 911’ers, utilizing the full spectrum of emergency services, Fire, Police and Ambulance, as well as the Florida Wildlife Commission to complain about the gator living in the backyard canal that has been eyeballing their tea cup poodle. The flashing blue and red lights of the emergency response vehicles cheerfully highlight many a neighborhood Christmas display. As matter of fact, these ostentatious holiday pageants begin just about Halloween and continue through St. Patrick’s Day, extending our holiday season well beyond the norm, and we of course are quite grateful, the peace and quiet would have been such a bore, particularly in such a magnificent setting such as is Florida.



Parking is an Art Form

Parking is an Art Form


Clue #2, which is related very closely with number one, there is a noticeable up-tick in traffic. This is typically calculated by the number of Buicks surrounding you on the highway. One can tell the Holidays are coming closer when the ratio of Buicks to Pickup Trucks reaches a plateau of six to one, and five of them are traveling in the fast lane at 38 miles per hour, while one, without warning, brakes heavily, stops in the right lane and then turns left across four lanes of traffic into a doctor’s office. This turning technique is typically identified by the subsequent squealing of tires and an array of trumpeting, rather than the customary and preliminary turn signal. This performance is also reversed when leaving the doctors’ office, first the snowbird will look to identify oncoming traffic, wait while nothing is coming, then and only then, when the traffic finally has reached their entry position, do they pull onto the highway thusly insuring the State Farm agent a nice Christmas bonus as a result of increased premiums.




See, I told you

Now that we have been clued into the arrival of the Holidays, the festivities begin. Wal-Mart, the Florida shoppers’ choice becomes a battleground of the parking wars and impatience. Do you know at this time of year it takes an area three lanes wide to turn into a parking spot without backing? Unfortunately for us, Wal-Mart did not have the foresight to design their parking lots this way. They foolishly used only two lanes between the rows of angled parking spaces. And why did they angle them? You cannot fit a Buick evenly between the angled lines, principally when performing such a turn into the parking space while employing a seven point reversing maneuver.



Walmart Crash


At this juncture I will not even go into the Handicapped space bumper battles, but suffice it to say that Wal-Mart no longer needs to light the decorations outside of its stores for all the flashing blue lights. But at times they need new doors and windows.


And no ladies these lights do not indicate a special sale price on partially used front yard planters.




Lighted Palm


 Here are a few things I do not think I will ever get used to, but occur quite often here in Florida during the Christmas Season. They are in no particular order, well except for the last one:


Christmas lights on palm trees.

Christmas Trees on the beach.

Putting up Outdoor Christmas decorations when it’s 90 + degrees.

Worrying if the eggnog will spoil in the trunk if you don’t get home within six minutes.

Turning down the A/C on Christmas Morning to keep the chocolate from melting in the stockings.

Having to buy ice for the beer.

Being forced to have an artificial tree if you want it to last till Christmas Eve, or not burn down your house.

Green, everywhere, (except that Live Christmas tree you bought.)

The Snow is always plastic and icicles are always candy.

Reindeer grazing or prancing on perfectly manicured lawns.



Pontoon Boat Christmas Parades.Xmas tree beach

Wearing shorts to your Company Christmas Party.

Santa sweating all over your kids.

Some Santa wanna-be wearing nothing but a Hat and a red Speedo.


Warning: Do not conjure up the image of that last one it’s too disturbing, Snowbirds do not look like Brad Pitt. Too late???? Sorry.




The Holidays in Florida do have advantages however. Some of my more exacting favorites are listed below. Santa helpers

Again in no special order, but only because I couldn’t decide which one I liked best:


Santa’s little helpers (the non-snowbird variety), all wearing bikinis.

Not having to shovel snow…EVER.

The Beer never freezes.

Bass fishing Christmas Eve morning.

Your Kids can actually ride that new bike.

Hot Chocolate, (or scotch), is a choice not a necessity.                                                                                                                                         

A lot of the Snowbirds go home to see the grandkids for a week or two.

A tan, makes the white beard with the Santa suit look better, (the red bikinis too.)

College Football Bowl Games, we have a choice, watch on TV or go to the Stadium.

Your Christmas or New Years Eve Party can be a Bar-B-Que.

Christmas in July, feels the same, so we do it twice.


Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy a happy and joyous Holiday Season.


Thank you for taking the time during this busy Holiday Season to read my work.

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