California Dreamin’ on a KOTAW Winter’s Day

Got content marketing frostbite? Heat up your business plan with powerful, brand-propelling digital marketing strategies | KOTAW Content Marketing It snowed in Los Angeles on Thursday!

Well, it was the southern California equivalent — a gentle, steady rain cascading from sunny skies that created, for a few wondrous moments, the illusion of snowfall.

Ten minutes later, the sidewalks were dry and, within an hour, the lawn was too.

My dreams of a white Christmas — and a lower water bill — were dashed.

Most days of the year, I feel pretty smug about living in a temperate climate. I’ve lived and worked in cities whose inhabitants took perverse pride in the severity of their winters — “His mustache turned to ice — literally to ice — by the time he walked to the mailbox!” — and I enjoyed some headline-making moments when I turned my harrowing experiences battling blizzards and ice storms into front page stories.

I don’t miss the danger, drudgery and sheer exhaustion of Canadian, East Coast and Midwest winters. I keep an old ice scraper in my car just to remind me that I never again have to get up at 4 a.m. to chip frozen snow off my windshield. I don’t miss being cold from November through April, and I’m not sure I still could endure a frigid winter — I wear a down jacket and snow boots to walk Ivy when the temperature drops below 50 degrees here in LA.

California Grinch

But wearing shorts on Christmas morning feels wrong. Getting shorts as a Christmas present seems ludicrous. Where are my sweaters? Where are my flannel pajamas? Why aren’t skate guards peeking out of my stocking? “Santy Claus, why? Why did you take my Christmas memories away, why?”

For our first several winters in California, I was known as Cindy-Lou-Boo-Hoo every December. I’ve gotten over my resentment, maybe because I’ve evolved — or maybe because my daughters buy me turtlenecks knowing they’ll make me smile Christmas morning (and collect dust in my closet the other 364 days of the year.)

On holidays and other special occasions, we want everything to be the way it was at some set time in our lives, some perfect — or imperfect — moment that gets stuck in our head. We fight with spouses who want chestnuts in their stuffing and mock in-laws who buy gift cards instead of real presents even if we secretly prefer shopping for ourselves.

Auld Lang Syne or Just Old?

It’s OK to long for the past every now and then. As an occasional indulgence, nostalgia enriches our personal lives.

Sometimes it may even help your brand to resurrect an old-fashioned idea or practice, such as sending a client a handwritten note instead of an email or delivering a package in person rather than by courier service.

But don’t stay stuck in the past for long. Whatever you learned about social media last winter — or last month — may be as useless as a car battery that sits in sub-zero temperatures overnight. The website that was cutting edge two years ago may now look as appealing as curbside slush. This year’s inventive digital marketing strategies may be as outdated as your current calendar will be in 2014.<

Don’t let nostalgia delude you into believing that the quaintness of old-fashioned business practices is powerful enough to propel your brand forward in the age of digital marketing. It’s one thing to pretend it snows on a rainy day in California, another to believe that raindrops are snowflakes in disguise.

It’s better to give than to receive, but I do want something from you: your comments! Please share your thoughts below. Wishing you and your loved ones a fabulous holiday season!


  1. Every piece of yours is CLASSIC, but this one takes the cake.

    Seriously, Kat, I was nitpicking your article, looking for some flaw, some minor faux pas that would make you seem human. But NO! You are the GODDESS of Storytelling.

    ” It’s one thing to pretend it snows on a rainy day in California, another to believe that raindrops are snowflakes in disguise.” – 10/10 ending!

    My heart stopped. Literally ;)

    You need to do this 365 days a year – 12 days is not enough, dear *sad* Muaaahh

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Hook me up to an IV and catheter and get someone to hand-feed me dark chocolate almond clusters, and I’ll do it!

      I thought I’d answered your made-me-beam comments hours ago, but something happened between writing and sending. See, I am human!

      Please forgive the slow reply, but know you’ve made me smile all day long.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I totally agree with Krithika – you are spoiling us, and I want one of these every day of the year. :-) I will volunteer to hand-feed you dark almond clusters if someone else will do the IV and catheter! This was another wonderful masterpiece and I got a little choked up thinking about my own favorite Christmas moments as a kid. And I agree with you about not getting too nostalgic when it comes to social media or websites or anything online – you just can’t or you will be left behind. Great advice!

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      You made me laugh, Elizabeth (you chose the right job to volunteer for!) and glow with appreciation for your kind words. I’m actually on my way out now to stock up on some clusters to get me through the next 2 days of KOTAW. So, must keep this short — my dark chocolate muse is calling. :)

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