It's my first December not in a cold climate; my first 18 Decembers were spent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, followed by eight in New York City. But now I live in L.A., and those postcard holiday landscapes—showing rosy-cheeked people in scarves holding warm beverages while delicate clumps of snow dot sizable pine trees—feel crazy out of touch. A friend of mine who also recently moved to California absentmindedly remarked to me, "They don't have Christmas in L.A."
Of course, as it turns out, they do have Christmas in L.A.! They have all the holidays in L.A.! And, actually, it's been refreshing to see Californians' exuberance for the holiday season expressed in their own way, with palm trees and cacti wrapped in twinkle lights and LED projections dancing across single-level Spanish Revival homes. Curious to see how other desert and tropical climates decorate for the season, I went on an Instagram tear, digging deep into tags like #ChristmasCactus and #DecoratingTheDesert. Here are the most creative, smile-inducing takes on snow-free holiday decor.