Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas List - Tangerines

Tangey-Claus? The Florida Citrus Commission was working hard to link their product with Christmas when they thought up Santa constructed of tangerines. Some would say they might have been indulging in some (at the time) illegal hooch too. Whatever the case, the three-pack novelty showed up in newspapers promoting Florida tangerines as an acceptable yuletide gift, but the link between citrus and Santa runs a little deeper than a consortium's sales gimmick.

Tangerines have long been a Christmas stocking staple, so much that one of the tangerine's monikers is the "Christmas Orange". A key reason for this is that the tangerine's peak harvest season syncs up with Christmas and in a drab season of winter and cold, a gift that carries the color and scent of sunshine also has the power to bring a smile, but I'm always forced to think of poverty when I see rows of tangerines in the store.

I've heard (second hand) stories of the bad old days, when the Great Depression scoured the country and making enough to support a family was hard enough without the harsh light of shining Christmas mornings and the sparkling expectation of dewy-eyed children. Back then a tangerine in your stocking might have been the only gift you got, and a luxury item at that. It makes me look askance at the culture of excess I grew up with.

So this year I might just be putting a tangerine or two in the stockings of my loved ones. The sun in a sock, what more could you want?

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