Christmas on the Beach

The other day I was writing about traditions (or notably the lack of them in my particular case), which led to me musing on the possibility of deliberately setting out to start a new holiday tradition. Well, gentle readers, I believe I have found one.

Christmas on the beach.

We woke up rather late this morning, and when we learned we'd have the morning alone (son was busy packing and boxing in final preparations for movers tomorrow) decided to drive down to the beach.  It was just the sort of beach weather I enjoy - not overly warm, bright sun, blue sky, gentle breeze.  Forgoing the beach paraphenalia - chairs, umbrella, refreshments - we smoothed sunscreen on our faces and hopped into the car.  We'll walk for a while, we thought, listen to the surf, collect some shells.

I was surprised to find lots of people at the beach on Christmas morning, many of them families with small children happily playing the sand, gathering buckets full of the shells which are so plentiful on the Gulf Coast.   One little girl kept running back and forth from a huge mound of seashells, filling a strainer and then rushing down to the ocean and dipping them in the waves.  "How about if I just rinse, Daddy?" she asked, when her father encouraged her to spend some time sifting through for perfect specimens.

A young couple walked dreamily hand in hand, so obviously dumb struck by the sheer wonder of each other's presence that they might as well have been walking on Mars as on Vanderbilt beach.

Grandparents sat huddled in sweaters and blankets, their Floridian blood not accustomed to the unseasonably cool breeze off the water, but bravely soldiering on for the sake of the grandchildren.

And we walked, just as we had planned, barefoot along the hard packed sand, occasionally drifting close enough to let the chilly water stream over our toes.  I chose a handful of shells which I'll layer into the big glass vase I have at home representing my finds of countless trips to the beach over the past 10 years.  The surf's gentle rhythm had its usual calming effect, traipsing through the sand made us nicely tired, and after about an hour we were ready to head home for some lunch and a nap.

Now there is chicken roasting in the oven, salad greens washed and ready to be tossed, some good bread about to be baked, and wine breathing in preparation for pouring.  Our little family will soon gather to share a meal and celebrate the goodness of the past and the hopeful promise of the future.

Although some of our Florida traditions will soon be ending, I was well pleased with the new one we started today.