Ever since I moved to Central Florida over twenty years ago, I've wanted to mail my Christmas cards from the tiny post office in the East Orange County town of Christmas. Christmas got it's name from Fort Christmas, a Seminole War outpost that was built on December 25, 1837. The original fort is long gone but there is a re-creation of it in a great county park that was built during the US Bicentennial in 1976.
As you arrive into the rural Yuletide town, its hard to miss a holiday display on the corner of Highway 50 and Fort Christmas Road. There is a large permanent Christmas tree, a concrete Santa and sled, a manger, a shrine and other assorted Christmas memorabilia. Apparently there was a small museum at one time but the building looks like it has been closed for a while and the floorboards on the wood porch are starting to rot. But the collection of Christmas paraphernalia around the property is pure holiday kitsch and makes for a great photography stop.
The Ft. Christmas Historical Museum is a located on a good sized county park, and on this day it was very well used. There is a collection of Cracker Florida houses and buildings relocated from their original locations in Central Florida, in addition to the replica of the fort. All the houses are completely furnished in period furnishings, and it is a fascinating look back into the days when living in Florida was attempted only by the hardiest of folks.
There is a simplicity and efficiency of these Cracker houses that I find very appealing. The ingenuity used in their creation and the use of natural materials give the buildings a soul that is often lacking in many modern homes. I admire the connection the homes have to their environment and the Florida landscape. As Mrs. Ephemera and I consider renovating our home, I'd love to borrow some of that spirit as we proceed. Only with air-conditioning and indoor plumbing!