1. You hope for snow, but you’re realistic.

In my three decades of memories of Christmases in Texas, I can remember only 1-2 snowfalls on the day itself. It’s probably for the best, honestly; the state practically shuts down with as little as one inch of ice on the highways, and the equipment just isn’t there to clear it quickly. We may not be Australians, celebrating the holidays in their shorts with a BBQ in the backyard, but some years it’s pretty close. You can’t help but laugh at everyone in New York City trapped under ten feet of snow.

2. When there is no snow, you know to get creative.

Photo: Special

We don’t even have the infrastructure for many outdoor skating rinks, leaving many Texans to climb to the top of Whole Foods in Austin or the bottom of the Galleria in Dallas to get their fix. Have you ever seen a snowman made of hay?

3. You drove specifically to see the Christmas lights.

Because our state isn’t as confined as the northeast or west coast, our neighborhoods are jammed with incredibly ornate light displays. It’s not just individuals, either. The San Antonio Riverwalk is all lit up and even brighter from the reflection on the water; Congress in Austin looks like something out of a Christmas card; and Zilker Park has the Trail of Lights and the largest “tree” in the state.

4. Decorations are king.

Have you ever seen an ornament with Santa holding a beer and kicking back on a porch swing? If so, you’ve clearly spent a holiday season in Texas. Poinsettias dominate holiday decorations all over the Lone Star State. Obviously, it’s very popular in December due to its distinctively red and green colors adorning advent wreaths and Christmas trees. And that star traditionally at the top of the tree? Even more appropriate in Texas.

5. Charlie Brown Christmas? Try Larry the Cable Guy.

“Lady of the evening, lady of the evening, lady of the evening,” said Santa.

6. You’ve done a road trip to the middle of nowhere to meet fourth cousins.

You know Dallas and Houston and El Paso and Austin…Waco and Ft. Worth and San Antonio and College Station…but do you recall the smallest towns of all? Lubbock, Marlin, Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, Vernon, Wichita Falls, Fredericksburg… between all us city dwelling Texans, we learn the names of towns one at time once the holidays hit and our families insist on traveling 300 miles to drink with distant cousins. On the plus side, there are quaint parades without the freezing temperatures, and you usually end up inside drinking Dr. Pepper and playing cards…assuming you weren’t dragged to church by an overzealous aunt.

7. You’ve left these foods out for Santa.

Our holiday meals are filled with candied yams and maple-glazed ham, but we know the big guy needs something stronger to last through a night of braving Texans aware of Castle Laws to deliver gifts to each and every household (it’s a minor miracle we don’t hear more stories about Santas found dead in living rooms on December 26th). Something more practical after a hard night’s work, like a cold beer or shot of tequila.

8. You’re part of the south when the situation calls for it.

On occasion, we Texans do sneak in a few southern traditions, at least when it comes to luck. We celebrate with fireworks and drinking until the wee hours, but when it comes time for the hangover cure, we have to at least get in one serving of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. You might also get away with just listening to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.