Here in Arizona we like to keep up appearances. Even though we don't have a "real" Winter, we go through the motions with the rest of the Nation.
In August, as school creeps closer, the stores begin to fill with plaid wool and knit sweaters while we're still enduring temperatures above 105 degrees. The crazy thing is that we all start buying them because, ever-hopeful, we crave that change to Fall too. (Perhaps even more than most states.) Invariably you'll see a girl in long sleeves on the first sweltering day of school. You know she's insisted on wearing her favorite magazine dictated Fall fashions despite the warnings of her Mother. This year, I even saw a high school boy sporting his awesome long black Goth duster over his long black pants and knee-high boots, on a day with record-setting heat. I'm sure he felt extremely cool, even if he was about to faint from heat exhaustion.
Through November and December we revel in our chilly temperatures. The slightest frost is all the excuse we need to remove the candelabra from the fireplace and stick in a paper-coated 4-hour fire log. We may have to turn on the air conditioning to make a crowded Christmas party bearable, but at least it can look like Winter.
At school, little Arizonans go through the motions (I assume kids in Florida and small Californians also carry on the charade) by making sponge painted fall leaves that we won't see until January, cutting out snowflakes when some have never seen one, and bringing home construction paper snowmen to decorate at the kitchen table before they're allowed to run out to have a light-sabre war on the lawn with the other neighborhood kids.
But I, for one, am done keeping up appearances. I declare that it's time for the South to rise again and throw off the shackles of seasonal oppression! Today my kids are going barefoot and wearing shorts, even if it is still February!