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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Local Holiday Fare

Saturday night we ventured into downtown Palm Springs for their annual Holiday Lights Parade. We met some good friends about an hour before the start time and enjoyed some nice snacks while lounging curbside in our beach chairs. We even had to dig our jackets out of the garage as it was pretty chilly that evening (50F) and when you are just sitting on the curbside, it can get pretty cold.
I am enjoying seeing the Christmas decorations popping up around town, especially in the evening when the lights illuminate. It's festive and it's actually fun to enjoy the outdoor decor without completely freezing to death.
Soon it was time to watch the spectacle unfold. It is moments like these that Palm Springs feels likes a small town. Local high and middle schools bands and dance teams filled in between floats of all kind decorated with lights. The tubas were most impressive. I was pleased to hear that the bands were playing both sacred and secular Christmas music. I think it's a pity that schools have to be so careful now that nothing that intimates at one religion or another is forbidden. Celebrate it all. That's what celebrating diversity is about. Not squelching everyone's traditions, but rather bringing it all to the fore. Even if you don't celebrate the Christian tradition at Christmas, you can't deny that some pretty great sacred music has come out of that tradition.
This parade even boasted a few large balloons along the way. It was a long parade as well, lasting about an hour and 15 minutes. We totally enjoyed watching the various creations drive by.
It was a gorgeous night, with a half moon sitting just above us in a clear, starry sky. I love the silhouette of the giant palm trees against the the Christmas lights. It's all so different and interesting from what we'd grown used to in Europe.
The horse drawn carriages added a nice Dickens feel to the evening. 
 But the firetrucks were the most spectacular. 

The local news team came by in the NBC themed car.
 And one of the big local churches went all out with a large size nativity.

No holiday parade would be complete without Snoopy and this one did not disappoint.
The local hospital got into the spirit by creating a float that was a small replica of the hospital building. 
And of course, the parade ended with Santa and reindeer surrounded by...what else? Palm Trees!
I suppose no matter where in the world you find yourself, it's fun to discover the local traditions and take them in. It's hard to beat the charm of a Swedish Christmas, the beauty of a German Christmas market and the dramatic backdrop that London provides, but for our little corner of the world where winter is short and relative, the local folks did a good job of getting into the spirit of things and providing the community with a fun night out on the town.