Christmas in California, 2011

For recent Eastern and Midwestern transplants to the Golden State, the image of Santa Claus in sunglasses is about as hard to imagine as a 68 degree and partly-cloudy Christmas day at the beach, tanning.  But it is indeed our way of life, and we are very fortunate for it, recession or not.  We have a wonderful lifestyle in California that offers so much by way of entertainment, culture, food, sports, wine, you name it.  We don’t have to shovel snow on Christmas morning, unless we really want to, at one of own magnificent snow-capped mountains just a few hours away by car.

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Photo courtesy arturogarrido, Flickr

But economic times have been tough the last few years.  People have lost their homes, lost their jobs and others have suffered with their retirement accounts.  Yet it looks like this Christmas might be a better one for Californian’s than expected.  That is because national employment statistics are indicating that the unemployment rate is going down, slightly.  Consumer confidence is tentatively rising, and CNN reported that “Black Friday” sales by retailers the day after Thanksgiving, were the strongest ever for retailers nationwide, an important milestone that may set the tone for a retail comeback this Christmas.

Retailers on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills will surely be hoping for a rebound in the economy.  In recent years, empty-pocketed tourists have outnumbered actual shoppers on this famous street that brings top flight jewelry stores like Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Company, and Harry Winston, all within a 5 minute walk.  But the indications are that at retail establishments across the state, from Target to Tiffany’s, Christmas 2011 might be a little brighter than the last few years.  If that happens, more jobs and a better economy may be just around the corner – and then the question will become, will our politicians let us hold on to our economic gains, or tax the heck out of them, pushing us back into recession!

Regardless, most of us do have a lot to be thankful for as this tough economic year ends.  And one of the things we have to be thankful for is sunshine on Christmas day!

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