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CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, educated in Switzerland and lived in Philadelphia, all places where I experienced many a snowy winter. So when I arrived in Los Angeles in 1971, I was fascinated to see how Christmas was celebrated in the everlasting warmth of Southern California. There are no reindeer, no snow, people are wearing flip flops and t-shirts and the sun is usually shining. No skis, earmuffs or scarves in sight. Here, Santa drives a four-wheel-drive Porsche or a Mercedes. Still, Christmas is still obviously beloved in California despite its lack of wintery trappings. Most of the trees in the city are palms, so there aren’t many leaves that change with the seasons. Despite this, you can tell that it’s winter in LA when the streets come to life with the symbols and commercialization of the holiday. Santa Salesman dot the streets and tree lots and blow-up displays pop up in empty parking lots. And if anyone wants to experience a more traditional White Christmas, the magic of California means that the snow at Mammoth, Big...

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