A Tropical Christmas

Reef Reef Beach Seascape

I think this time of year can leave those of us who live in tropical climes feeling somewhat disconnected from the season. Iconic scenes of Santa and his reindeer making their Christmas Eve rounds above snow covered roof tops or Christmas Greeting Cards featuring quaint cottages surrounded by new fallen snow and glimpses of fir trees decked out in pretty lights through snow fringed windows, does nothing to lessen the sense that Christmas feels more right when there’s snow. A few Christmases ago I made an Everglades Christmas Card with the poem Christmas Everywhere by Phillips Brooks and featured a scene with an egret in The Everglades of Florida which touched on this point of our romantic perceptions of the celebration and that it happens in winter. And being a tropical girl who has also lived in snowy places, its been in my thoughts many times.

This year I’ve been going through old papers and photographs, some things from my family’s time in the Philippines. I thought I’d share the poem My South Sea Christmas  this year which expresses the sentiment so sweetly. The time was 1968 to 1970 and the war was raging in Vietnam. The poem was written by a dear friend who was an airman stationed at Clark Field Airbase where we were also stationed at the time. Even in the worst of times, it seems our minds still turn to sweeter thoughts and memories, or maybe even because of them.

My South Sea Christmas

by Thomas Clark “TC” Good

The sounds of Christmas, a South Sea Christmas,

flows on soft sweet air:

The glee of children Christmas morn,

like children everywhere.

The sounds of palms, like rushing wings,

as the radiant sun shines down,

The sounds of waves along the sands,

of a little South Sea town.

Sometimes I dream about the days

not very long ago,

the feel of frost as it kissd my lips,

my feet crunched in the snow.

Oh,there was a time when I really thought,

that no Christmas could ever be,

the kind of Christmas I’d once enjoyed,

beneath a snow blushed tree.

But, I have grown with passing years,

and now I can understand,

it’s not the place but Christmas love,

shared with my South Sea Land.

I do not need the snowfall,

for white sand’s beneath my feet,

And the musical sounds of rustling palms

can replace my thoughts discreet.

And I share my South Sea Christmas

with ones I really love,

And give of myself with all my heart,

the gift of love, sweet love.

No matter where we celebrate, our thoughts travel back to the little babe born in a manger in Bethlehem, the reason we celebrate anywhere.

Merry Christmas,


~ by Judy on December 24, 2018.

25 Responses to “A Tropical Christmas”

  1. That’s a lovely poem; I can only imagine the loving heart of its author. And it is true, it matters not where you are, it’s the deeper message of Christmas that holds true. For me, that’s the turning of a new year, that brings with it hope. And that’s what I wish to you.

    • I wish the same for you too in your beautiful land.

      • That’s the land in my head, is it?
        Ah, you mean the one in my photos?
        Or, the one in Asaric Tales?
        But that brings me back to the one in my head! 🙂

      • All of ’em!!! 🙂 Probably I was visualizing your photos though. LOL!! Not all of us have these alternate realities you know!! Writers!!!!

      • Yea. And not everyone has snow. If I see it at all, it’ll be late January/early February. Or even later.

      • Well we had snow in Florida back in 1974 or so. Would have to check that year….though the flakes did not stick of course. But, I remember us all wearing coats in Grandmother’s house in Coral Gables that time. No reverse cycle heating or anything. It was fun though.

        So I guess for us waiting for snow is like the Eld’s Eye blink time. Few and far between and far less predictable.

      • Yea, Actually, the year before I moved here, the locals reckon Breydon Water was a chock with broken ice come down from upriver. Upriver doesn’t mean some place north in Britian, like Scotland. It just means inland, to the west, around Norwich (which is where I was living before the move.)

  2. I remember those years too!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! May we read and view more of your posts in 2019.

    • Yeah, I know you have many reasons to remember too!! I look forward to 2019, posting more and seeing your lovely writing and photography of 2019 as well!! Thanks so much!

  3. A beautiful poem with the true spirit of Christmas.

    • Thanks so much for stopping in to read. I always found that poem so sweetly expressed and am glad you enjoyed reading it this Christmas Eve. Nice to be able to share it.

  4. Beautiful poem, Judy. Merry Christmas!

  5. So lovely — and an experience I understand. Having been raised in the snowy-to-the-rooftops midwest, moving to Texas and on to equatorial Africa took some adjustment when Christmas rolled around.

    The poem is lovely, and expresses so well the adjustment I suspect we all go through: at least, those of us lucky enough to come to appreciate quite different circumstances on our holidays. I’ve known a few Liberians who’ve come to this country, and I always laugh when I hear them talking about how hard it is to feel the Christmas spirit in a place that’s “so cold.” The ones who land in snowy climes certainly would have an adjustment or two to make. But I’ve known a couple who came to Houston, and they think it’s cold here at Christmas — everyone knows Christmas is supposed to be hot!

    Merry Christmas to you, Judy. I’m looking forward to sharing the new year with you!

    • Well Greeting Card Snow and Santa notwithstanding, I suppose it is a bit like comfort food. We love what we grew up with and where all our memories, attachments and traditions were first formed. Definitely rings funny to think Christmas is supposed to be hot!! But then I’ve read that Bethlehem in December is not so different than Florida temperature wise. Cool, no snow!

      Merry Christmas and looking forward to sharing 2019 with you too!! Essays and photos!!!

      • I’ve come to believe that, just as baby humans and baby animals imprint on their parents, we ‘imprint’ on the world/landscape we first come to know. That’s the world “the way it’s supposed to be,” and coming to accept different landscapes, different climates, and so on can be hard. Rewarding, no doubt. But comfort food’s a great analogy. We all have our comfort landscapes, too. It’s probably one reason I love a good cornfield!

  6. Judy, Great poem and thought. Jack

    On Mon, Dec 24, 2018 at 10:48 AM Janthina Images – Photo Journal wrote:

    > Judy posted: ” I think this time of year can leave those of us who live in > tropical climes feeling somewhat disconnected from the season. Iconic > scenes of Santa and his reindeer making their Christmas Eve rounds above > snow covered roof tops or Christmas Greeting Cards” >

  7. This is a lovely Christmas post, a lovely story and lovely poem. I am having one of those tropical options, complete with idyllic palms, strong sun — and extra-high tides and extra-large waves. When one’s heart and soul are focused on the true meaning of Christmas, you’re right – it doesn’t matter where we are in the world!
    Happy holidays to you!

    • May your holidays be warm and wonderful and with the best of friends as well!! Look forward to seeing your art and posts in 2019!!

  8. I love your Everglades Christmas Card. It never snows here. It’s not even particularly cold here. Mild and grey! I guess that’s better for people who feel the cold and can’t afford to heat their homes. Merry Christmas to you!

    • Yeah, not being totally freezing has it pluses. Here in Florida I am happy and feel seasonal if it is just a bit drier and around say 70 degrees. Perfect! I can remember when I was in college here years ago walking along with someone and saying, its going to drop down to 70 tonight. Drop down to 70…that’s summer for many folks. A very Merry Christmas to you as well and I have looked and like your cards too. I really enjoy looking at your paintings too. Lovely work.

  9. Great photo and poem! 🌉🌒🌺

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