1. Your holiday season starts when the White Stag gets a red nose.

The “Portland Oregon” sign in Old Town, once a reminder of the funky knick-knacks and outdoor apparel you can find in the Beaver state, has become a landmark on its own. Nothing said “mom is going to force me to wear nice clothes and hug old people in sweaters for the next two months” more than when the nose of white stag at the top of the sign turned red.

2. You cut down your own Christmas trees.

Oregonians don’t go sidewalk shopping for their Christmas trees, they march drunkenly into the woods with their dad and a hacksaw in search of a Noble Fir with their name on it (this is not always a recipe for success, so mom probably ended up going to the local tree farm and picking a Grand or Balsam, which just totally ruined Christmas for everyone. And she knew it. And you didn’t forgive her and it still hurts her on the inside. You should go hug her).

3. Pumpkin spice means beer, not lattes.

All you need to do is visit one of the 260 breweries in this beer-saturated state to know that pumpkin lattes are for Seattleites, pumpkin lagers are for Oregonians (who will take an IPA anyway because change is scary).

4. It’s just a wet Christmas.

Maybe, just maybe, your town got an inch of the white stuff on Christmas Eve but was far more likely to happen in the middle of January or not at all. Life as a kid in Oregon was waiting for the snow days that never came (unless you grew up down by Crater Lake, in which case I have more sympathy than envy).

5. If you did have a white Christmas, none of your family made it to dinner.

Oregon doesn’t get a whole lot of snowfall in most years (too warm), but when an “Arctic Blast of 2008” happens things go bananas. At least you didn’t have to share your Christmas goose, stuffing, and cranberry sauce with anybody, which is as it should be.

6. You know the best Christmas light spots from Astoria to Eugene.

Thanks to events like Zoo Lights, the Pastega Light Display, and the Starfest Holiday Light Show, you grew up thinking the best part of the holidays was getting in the family car and driving through entire universes of sparkle.

7. You never heard of Kwanza.

Yeah, Oregon is really, really white, man. No judgment, but maybe do a quick Bing search while we’re here.

8. You spend the entire holiday season thinking of 4th of July.

Nothing is worse than sunsets at 4:30 after an entire day of rain and fog for months on end, so you probably spent most of your waking winter hours planning for the only holiday in Oregon when sunshine is guaranteed.

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