The concept of Christmas is strange in Miami. Children are fed baffling images of a heavily clothed, bearded man pulling large deer-like creatures through some sort of white substance on the ground while listening to hours of music celebrating mysterious concepts such as "cold weather" and "fireplaces."
So it's no shock that a metro area that has seen real snow flurries exactly once in its modern history (a full four decades ago) isn't great at celebrating a holiday built around winter cheer and freezing temperatures. But a new study out this morning says that Hialeah, in fact, is the single worst U.S. city to enjoy the Yuletide.
The report comes from the internet-ranking masters of WalletHub, who devised five data points to rank the 100 largest metro areas in the nation. The site tried to quantify abstracts such as "traditions and fun" by noting the number of Christmas events in town and the number of Christmas tree farms per capita and broke down generosity, shopping habits, religious observance, and costs with available data.
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Hialeah, under those criteria, ended up with the "Mark of the Grinch." The City of Progress ranked 98th in "traditions and fun," dead last in religious observance, 89th in generosity, and 96th in Christmas shopping options.
Miami proper didn't fare too badly. Somehow the Magic City tied for first overall in Christmas tree farms per capita, presumably because every black-market growhouse in the Redland briefly switches its inventory to evergreens in December to capitalize on the season. Thanks to a strong shopping and "fun" rankings, Miami placed 20th overall in the study.
Of course, there's a more obvious reason why Hialeah ranked so low on WalletHub's list: Miami-Dade's most Cuban city may not get as into Rudolph and Frosty as northern U.S. cities, but La Ciudad Que Progresa goes hard on Noche Buena.
If the City of Hialeah is smart, it will counter WalletHub's findings with its own study: "America's Best Cities for Noche Buena." There's no way any U.S. city has more caja chinas per capita than Hialeah. And let's be honest: Who needs mistletoe when the lechón is that good?