California Christmas.

Oh, hi there!

Since I’m from Chicago, Christmas usually marked the time that my eyelids felt like they froze to my eyeballs and if I wore flats, I cringed and hissed as snow and ice found a way inside of my shoe. If I wore heels, I hopped on the ice kind of like a bunny and hoped for the best really. But that was normal. And yes, people yelled at me because I would dash from the car to a building without a coat like a crazy person. But isn’t it the worst feeling on earth when you layer and layer and layer and then you get into a building and the heat is blasting and you think you could die? I think that feeling rivals when you walk out of the house and see snow covering your car and you have to clean your windshield without gloves. Or sometimes without a windshield scraper.

Someone asked me how cold it really feels in Chicago this time of year. Since this person is born and bred in California, I naturally told her she would die, since Chicago’s October temperatures (which I find crisp and perfect) made her bones ache with cold.

So, what exactly does Christmas in California look like? If there is no snow and no cold (I mean, real cold) then…? Well this weekend was Santacon where thousands of people dressed up like Santa Claus and partied in Union Square so these were taken the weekend before.

In SF, Union Square is a popular tourist destination. I don’t really understand why. It’s a square. But whenever I walk through there, pretty much daily, I’m always charmed by the fact that I actually live here, that I’m cutting through Union Square in San Francisco where all these tourists are going. So, recently I brought my camera and looked like a tourist.


SONY DSCIt is dazzling but I have to say, as I took pictures, I thought: the only thing missing is an ice skating rink, like they have at Millennial Park but I guess it’s understandable since this is California. California, I underestimate you again! Shame on me.SONY DSC

These next pictures were taken on my iPhone on my way to work in the early morning but you’ve got to see the lights in the palm trees and the trolley cars. Talk about charming.IMG_1210 IMG_1212IMG_1213

I feel like I should say something here like…Merry Christmas, from my city to yours!

It will be strange to be back in Chicago for the holidays. Each time I go, I feel like it is a little less like it is my home base. When I fly back to SF, there is that sense of coming home. Of course, Chicago will always be home but these days you’ll catch me cutting through Union Square, strange as that may seem, even to me.

How does your city decorate? I know you’re there. I get emails, posts on facebook, and instagram. So, give it a go here and comment. 🙂





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19 thoughts on “California Christmas.

    1. Nina Post author

      Just shoot me an email with your favorite card and where I should send it. 🙂 It will be blank for you to use. I just realized that it sounded awkward like I will be writing you a letter 😉

  1. Taylor

    I’m sitting here, in our beloved Chicago, and it’s snowing outside. Not the violent, icy kind of snow that feels like shards of glass being hurled at every centimeter of clumsily exposed skin on your face, but rather the kind that looks just like a cloud of dust swirling harmlessly through the air, kissing the pavement like a layer of powdered sugar on a fresh cake.

    I think that’s how Chicago decorates best: the snow. Without it this time of year, the city feels incomplete: as if Tom Hanks were playing in Sleepless in Seattle against Julia Roberts. It just wouldn’t work.

    That all sounds very romantic. If you had asked me three days ago when the temperature was -2F I might have given a different answer 😉

    1. Nina Post author

      This makes me want to watch snow fall. Inside. With hot chocolate. Or a christmas cocktail. But watch it. Even though I know I’m going to have to go in since Ava’s already told me. Yep, told me.

  2. Katie Elizabeth

    Ahhhh, it looks so WARM there. It’s freezing here in Chicago (of course) – a high of 21 degrees today! I’ve been wanting to go ice skating at Millenium Park but it’s just so dang cold that I’ve been trying not to leave the house unless absolutely necessary. Ice skating in California sounds so much better!

    1. Nina Post author

      I know! I need to do it. I don’t understand how it is even possible? I saw an ice rink at Disneyland but that’s Disney. That’s magic. But in union square? Crazy. I don’t even have a winter coat to wear on the plane. LOL

  3. Lisa

    Nina! This post is so great… I am from Ann Arbor, Michigan and moved to New Mexico in August. Everyone that I meet asks me how cold it is in Michigan (and I tell them the same thing – that they would die).

    BUT surprisingly (and a little but unfortunately), New Mexico has gotten more snow than Michigan… what the heck, right?!!

    And I LOVED the picture of Macy’s with the wreaths!

    1. Nina Post author

      From reading your blog, I was pretty sure you were from MI and I almost mentioned it because I figured you could relate. You MUST youtube Jimmy Kimmel California Cold. It’s not a skit or anything. It’s real life news reporters and their reactions to the weather. It’s out of control. Haha

  4. Heather B

    I love that feeling of being a part of some place that others dream about. I’m not talking about Wilmington. I laugh when I think back to how commonplace it was to pass the Coliseum everyday in Rome. Oh, look… the Pantheon… whaddup? Anyway, I hope to one day be a part of somewhere like Chicago- in that there’s a large chance you’ll get snow AT SOME POINT during the “winter” 😉 Hope your Christmas is wonderful with your family and there is minimal crying (referring to previous post… can you tell I’m catching up?!). I laughed bc that is SO my family! Gotta love ’em. Muah!

    1. Nina Post author

      Thank you for making me feel like my family is not crazy! I said to my dad, No one cried!! And he said, yeah but consider how many times people cried on other one week vacations. We laughed so hard. No problem catching up. And yes, walking by the Panth. NBD. Haha. I don’t know if you read about my aunt…I know you are catching up…but yeah.

  5. Sam

    Living in the midwest, I can’t imagine Christmas without snow or it being cold. I see the pictures, but it’d be another thing to live in a climate where they decorate palm trees with Christmas lights. To me, it seems silly but what do I know? Even though winter can be a pain in the butt, I don’t think I’d want to live somewhere without it. At least, it’s not too hot or too cold in San Fran. Cherish it.

    1. Nina Post author

      I do cherish 🙂 Honestly, I feel like I get the best of both worlds. Palm trees and lights. And SNOW. And lights too because I am always going back and forth between Chicago and SF. I guess the thought of the lights in the palm trees is why not be festive, even if there aren’t evergreens? It is a trip to see it thought! But not bad 🙂 Like I said…I get the best of both worlds!

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