TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – At more than 80 degrees, the Tampa Bay area is no winter wonderland. That can make getting in the holiday spirit a little more challenging.
But residents are holding on to family traditions and embracing holiday cheer anyway. “You do tend to want colder weather, but you just have to embrace Florida,” said Jill Garrett, who spent Christmas Eve walking with family in Hyde Park Village.”
She’s lived in Tampa for 10 years and wants colder weather, maybe even a bit of snow, but Garrett says she refuses to let the heat bring her down on Christmas.
“You just gotta get over the cute little Christmas songs about winter. We’re in Florida, it’s going to be hot,” Garrett said. “You gotta embrace it. So we’re out having fun, having lunch, sweating, but it’s worth it. It’s fun.”
Jerry Meyerle is enjoying his first Florida Christmas. It’s his first warm one, too.
“It seems nice,” he said. “It’s nice to be about to sit outside. It’s nice to get to see people. There’s more Christmas spirit when you see other people around.”
We even found Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn embracing the holiday cheer. His secret to getting in the spirit is to spend money. “spend money.”
At Alessi’s Bakery in Tampa, lines of people waited for Christmas cookies, cakes and gingerbread houses. The food, the music and decorations here sure feel jolly.
“We get Christmas cookies for all of the grandkids, and they are just wonderful,” Windy Lewis said.
The lesson here is simple: Cold weather and snow are great at Christmas, but the real holiday spirit doesn’t require any of that.