The snow falls across the North Americas and Europe. Those in colder countries awake in the dark, to scrape car windows in plummeting temperatures, just so they can struggle to work. Woolley hats, scarves and gloves cloister around this year's thick winter coat. Coughs, sniffles and bad chests abound.
It must be terrible.
Here in Cancún, the sun is shining. Today's temperatures are set to soar to 26°C (78°F) and the sea is twinkling a wonderful turquoise. The beach and pool loungers are filling up with tourists and locals alike. The only white stuff on the ground is the sand. The hurricane season has receded and the city escaped for yet another year. The Christmas and New Year vacationers are on their way, or already here; the Spring Breakers are excitedly making their bookings. Are you coming too?
For some poor souls, this is a journey into the unknown. They've not yet experienced the paradise that is Cancún at this time of year. For the record, December is the favoured month for many visitors to our country. The sun is hot, but not the breathless heat of the midst of summer. It is that tropical haze that most people can only dream about. There are no rainy days (those occur in September and October), just glorious weather across the board. The freezing north feels like a world away.
Christmas is celebrated throughout Cancún. The malls have their mammoth Christmas trees already up and decorated. The lights have been hung along the streets. Santa Claus awaits the children in a variety of locations (he obviously has to rush between them, unless he can arrange for a helper to stand in). Just about every restaurant, bar, nightclub and hotel has its festive happenings and seasonal menus. The main issue, for visitors to our city, is trying to decide between them.
Then there are the official, public events. Look out for all of the free concerts, held in the plazas and the malls. Traditional carol singing from the city choir through to rock music. This has already begun in many places, but the main week is December 20th to 31st.
December is Cancún's busiest month. This reaches its zenith during the Christmas and New Year weeks. We are often asked if everything closes down on Christmas Day. No, everything tourist-related will not only be wide open, but filled to the rafters with partying, happy people. (Reservations are recommended, if you wish to be seated in a timely fashion.)
Also look out for the 'posadas'. Mexico is a Christian country and no-one will ever forget that Christmas is a religious festival. The posadas are the traditional events, masses, parades and tableaus for all of those wishing to celebrate the birth of Christ. This is, after all, what it's all about.