My Most Beautiful Christmas Experience
by Sandra Capicotti
Well, it's THAT time of year again. Yes, you know, that time when the airwaves are filled with one Christmas song after another until you feel that if your bells are jingled one more time you’re going to strangle the DJ with that reusable shopping bag they gave you at the mall?
Strange that as a youngster, my burden was not to be dragged to the mall, but to what still ranks in my mind as the most beautiful Christmas experience EVER! Each year my parents, my brother and I would visit the grounds of the National Enquirer in Boca Raton, Florida. It was something we looked forward to each year as a family. We marveled at the innovative displays they had, both static and animated. There were traditional favorites, such as hobby trains and elves, but there were also things you’d only find at a Florida Christmas celebration. Traditionally, we’re known down here for going all out with our holiday festivities, since the weather is not usually a boundary. Decorations by a store in West Palm Beach called Christmas with Dorice were the centerpieces of the event. There were trees covered in netting, lace and gold lame bows, the first time I’d ever seen designer themed trees of every color scheme. It was so beautiful and such a simple idea. And not just the trees, the grounds of The National Enquirer themselves were transformed into a magical wonderland, all surrounding the star attraction…a pine Christmas tree that had to be trucked down each year from Oregon in pieces and reconstructed in Florida. The heights of those trees ranged from 45 Feet tall in 1971 to 126 feet tall in its final showing in 1989. The tree made the Guinness Book when it had reached 117 feet. For you statistical buffs, that is much bigger than the tree in Rockefeller Center in New York. It had ornaments the size of the Moon (or so it seemed to me at the time) and icicles you could swing on. It was gorgeous enough in the daytime, but once the sun went down and the lights came on it became even more awe inspiring. When the management of that publication changed, a decision was made to discontinue the display, much to the lament of all who’d had the privilege of viewing it.
Nowadays I like to celebrate in another way that could only be enjoyed in South Florida in the month of December. I’ve had the privilege of boating down the Intracoastal Waterway in Jupiter, Florida to my brother’s in-laws for Christmas dinner and a general day of fun. Whenever we’ve done this, the weather has just been a gorgeous example of why I live where I do, having been a native New Yorker. I don’t know what new memories the future might bring, but hopefully, the best is yet to come. I think it’s time to re-visit the annual boat parade...
Photo Credits: Ruth Berge’s Blogspot for the National Enquirer Tree Photo.