Our neck 'o the woods, however rural, holds a shocking regional lack of Xmas spirit. I'm talkin' the glaring lack of reindeer - who evidently reside a LOT further North than California.
My Dad attempted to explain this fact to me; but once I espied my first stag at the tender age of five, all thoughts of "Reindeer R North' went right out the window (or, to my way of thinking - up the chimney...).
What was lacking in antler points was MORE thqan made up by the embodiment of Rudolph himself, apparently oblivious to his celebrity status, munching grass right in the San Francisco city limits out by the golf club's priced expanse of lawns.
I've been 'hooked' on deer ever since; somehow convinced that a sleighful of gifts waits just around the corner from every deer sighting.
Study has revealed
1. Deer are on all continents 'cept Antarctica and Australia: a fact which lends enthusiasm to the ritual opening of Deer Season on all but two continents (...and those have likely handily substituted Opening of Penguin Season and Opening of 'Roo Season, though the sleigh issue remains a special challenge at Xmas).
2. Deer can enjoy a range of habitats from tundra to rainforest. While "clearing open areas with forests may benefit deer populations", listen and learn from my small hamlet when a new urban land buyer decided to clear two acres of scrub, trees and decades of overgrowth - and Rudolph and his marauding gang rampaged through town gardens hitherto untouched in a wanton thirst for revenge (see: the sleigh doesn't ALWAYS contain gifts!)
3. Also be warned: a deer's nose is 100 times more sensitive than ours. Translation: adding "Deer-B-Gone" as a parameter defense to one's local garden will ONLY result in midnight revenge; NOT deer poisoning.
4. A deer's four-chambered stomach allows them to digest tough plants. As Carlos found when he bragged to the town that NO DEER would dare touch his prickly cactus plant collection - only to find a wanton midnight Rudolph Raider had struck down the LOT.
What it all boils down to is: Xmas lives in our small hamlet year-round, in the form of Raidin' Rudolph and his Merry Gang.
Our neck 'o the woods may hold no actual Reindeer - but that's simply a matter of semantics.
If you're a gardener here in Cow Country, the deer WILL not only rain on your parade: they will REIGN.
Doesn't it just SLEIGH you?
Happy holidays from The Back 40!