Florida, set to celebrate its 500th anniversary in 2013, can claim the indisputable distinction of hosting the first Christmas observation in the New World.
In 1539, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto wintered in the Apalachee community of Anhaica, that today is called Tallahassee.The native community would have been mere blocks -- if the city streets were laid out centuries ago -- from the Capitol.
That being said, here are Christmas wishes from across today's Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott
"We've got some great holiday news. We just received the unemployment numbers, they're down to the lowest level in four years, down to 8.1 percent.
Over 200,000 private-sector jobs in the last 23 months.
I want to thank every Floridian for all your efforts to get our economy going again, making sure everyone can get a job in our great state.
I hope everybody has a great holiday season: a merry Christmas; happy New Year's; 2013 is going to be a great year."
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater
"Last week, when darkness fell on the community of Newtown, Conn., we were reminded how fragile and short life can be. We were reminded that the time we have on this earth is but a moment. How we live our lives and treat others during this moment can mean all the difference in the course our world takes.
Edgar Guest writes in his poem "Compensation," "I'd like to think when life is done that I had filled a needed post. ... That I had taken gifts divine. ... and tried to use them now and then in service for my fellow men."
During this time of year, we can get caught up in all the hustle and bustle and forget that being kind to others and giving to those in need is really what this season is all about. Over the next few weeks I encourage you to give back to your community. Volunteer at a local charity or community center or carry out a random act of kindness, as you never know what burdens others may bear.
Kindness is contagious and we should never underestimate the impact of a single act. By reaching out and touching someone's heart, you may change the course of someone's day, week, year or even life.
It is my sincere hope that my time in public service and here on earth will make a difference, however small that difference may be. "I'd like to think that here and there, when I am gone, there shall remain a happier spot that might have not existed had I toiled for gain."
Attorney General Pam Bondi
I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas. The holiday season is a wonderful time to share warm wishes and appreciation with family and friends. May everyone have a safe and wonderful holiday season.
While we gather with our loved ones, I encourage you to keep the victims of the Connecticut shooting and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami
I address you at this special time of year known as Christmas that for millions of Americans means the opportunity to be with family and friends, to share gifts and to reflect on the year that has passed and have great hope for the year ahead.
For those of us who share a Christian faith its the second holiest day of the year.
The Christian faith teaches that mankind was irreverently separated from God when Adam and Eve committed the sin in the Garden. And as a result, man for thousands of years had no way to reach God than through priests and the temple.
And then God became a man and came to Earth. He was born on the day we commemorate as Christmas. And as a result of that, God became a man in the form of Jesus Christ and came to Earth and died for peoples sins and now man has access to God directly and the hope of eternal life.
That is what Christmas represents for millions of Christians here in the United States and around the world.
It is truly a special time of year. So I want to wish all of you a merry Christmas, to families and friends and to your loved ones.Jeanetteand I extend our warmest greeting and warmest wishes.
May God bless all Americans during this Christmas season And may God always bless the United States of America.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist
I just want to wish everybody a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday and lets all remember what were celebrating: the birth of Christ and so many blessings we all have to be so thankful for.Thank you.God bless you!
Ron Sachs Communications
Lloyd Brown, Sunshine State News columnist
Merry Christmas to you, or as this email I got says:
To All My Democrat Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2013, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!