Feliz Navidad: Merry Christmas

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It’s Christmas Day around the world and here in Southern California we can experience just about every culture from around the world. It’s one of the perks of living here.

Throughout Southern California people are getting together with their families, biological and otherwise, to celebrate our relationships with each other. Whether it’s at the beach, inland or at higher elevations in the snow, the residents of Southern California are celebrating the day with family, friends and food. It can be very traditional American meals, or it could be very traditional Mexican, Honduran, Guatemalan, Hawaiian, Polynesian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Laotian, Indian, German, French, Italian — there are so many different ways to prepare a Christmas meal, it would take a week to enjoy them all. Some of us will have the next week off to enjoy it all, if we so choose.

For some this day has religious significance, for others it’s a spiritual time of a different nature. Whatever it is for you, Merry Christmas.

We are a multi-cultural nation, and Southern California has a very rich multicultural history. As of the last census, 47.5 percent of us are Hispanic — by far, the largest ethic group in our area. Feliz Navidad.

For another group in our society, it is another day of hardship and despair. They live on the streets or in shelters, if they’re lucky enough to get in. Their kids won’t be receiving Christmas gifts this year.

As you go about your holiday, remember the less fortunate in society.

Here on the West Coast there are thousands of men and women serving our nation in our military, away from home during the holidays. From the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, to Edwards Air Force Base In Edwards, they are doing our nation’s business.

They will have special holiday meals prepared for them by men and women who are working on this Christmas Day. We salute the men and women of our armed forces as they spend the day as they usually do: ready to protect the nation — or to help out in moments of disaster.

There are still others, first responders, emergency workers and hospital staff, taking care of us today. Police officers on the streets and firefighters waiting in firehouses across the Southland, spend this holiday on duty so the rest of us can enjoy it with family and friends.

We wish all of them — and all of you — a Merry Christmas today.

Feliz Navidad.

 Top photo by Tim Forkes: The Crystal Pier with its Christmas Tree.