Tag Archive for: Christmas in the Desert

Each region has their own way of celebrating Christmas.  Of course Christmas lights seem just about universal and they are one of my favorite parts of decorating for Christmas.

Some of you may feel that it is not Christmas without snow, but growing up in Southern California near the coast – the only white Christmas that I have seen is watching Christmas movies on television.

Californians have their own way of celebrating Christmas, including a parade of boats decorated with lights and decorations.  One of my fondest memories is sitting on the breakwater and watching the boats parade along the coast.

Well, now that I have lived in Arizona for quite a while, I have become quite familiar with the unique way that desert dwellers decorate for Christmas.

The Christmas tree for our town is not actually a real tree…..

Arizona Style Christmas Celebration
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It is actually made up of tumbleweed.

Arizona Style Christmas Celebration

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

But, it is just beautiful, especially when it is all lit up at night.

Some residents love their cactus and it plays a starring role in how they decorate the outside of their homes.

holiday decorations

Agave also play a part in holiday decorations….

Arizona Style Christmas Celebration

I’ve even seen some agave with round, glass Christmas tree ornaments stuck on their pointy tips.

Arizona Style Christmas Celebration

Did you know that Ocotillo can also stand-in as a Christmas tree?

I hope you have enjoyed these glimpses into Christmas….Arizona Style.

Even though we may not enjoy a white Christmas in our beautiful desert, I like to think of the fact that the first Christmas occurred in a desert not that much different then ours…









Cookies and Sugar Cone Christmas Trees

Christmas in the desert is much the same as it is around the world.  Christmas lights adorn homes and trees, with a few notable exceptions.  This is the desert after all….we sometimes do things a little differently.

Christmas in desert

First of all, we have a town Christmas tree made entirely out of tumbleweed.  It is painted white and really looks quite beautiful at night when lit up.  We have a huge celebration each year when the  lights are lit for the first time.

Christmas in desert

See…. I told you it was made out of tumbleweed.  For those of you who do not know what tumbleweed is, it is the light brown, prickly, round shrub that you see rolling through the town when you watch old Western movies. *Disclaimer – contrary to popular belief, it is rare to see tumbleweed rolling through the desert.

Christmas in desert

We desert dwellers also decorate our cactus whenever we get a chance.  Saguaro cactus is relatively easy to decorate.  There was a home we used to drive by that had 3 saguaro cacti and every year they would decorate them as the 3 wise men – they looked just great.

Christmas in desert

Water is a much celebrated natural resource and some landscapes have fake desert washes running through their front yard.  During Christmas, some decorate their washes with blue lights to signify water.

*Fake desert washes were extremely trendy, but are thankfully, on the decline.  I admit that I did design some for homeowners who insisted on having them, but I would use large boulders and embed them along the sides to imitate a natural creek bed.

Christmas in desert

Ocotillo make a great stand-in as a Christmas tree.  Just hang some ornaments and string the lights.  I may have to try this on my Ocotillo next year.

Christmas in desert

You know those nets of Christmas lights that you can spread over shrubs?  Look carefully, this homeowner spread his lights over his boulder.  I’m not sure where I stand on this one….

Christmas in desert

Agave Americana all lit up.  I love how this looks.

Christmas in desert

Some people feel that they have to throw lights on everything in their front yard.  They just do not know when to stop.  I’m not sure the lights make this Prickly Pear cactus look any better.

Christmas in desert

The majority of homes in the desert are beautifully lit and look like many of the homes where you live.  This is one of my favorites.  The arborist in me just loves how the lights define the beautiful tree trunks of the Palo Verde and Mesquite trees.

*None of these pictures are from my home.  My husband is somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to decorating the outside of our home for Christmas…a string of lights around the house is as fancy as he gets.  But, I get to go crazy with decorations indoors.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of what Christmas in the desert looks like.   

What does Christmas look like where you live?