Published: Dec 25, 2013 10:02 PM EST
Updated: Dec 25, 2013 10:19 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. - It wouldn't be Christmas in Southwest Florida without a beach towel and an umbrella. Locals and tourists grabbed the sunblock and headed for Fort Myers Beach. 

"This is our idea of a white Christmas. 'It doesn't get any better than this," said Michelle Elliott.  

Christmas on Fort Myers Beach is a day filled with sand, seagulls and Santa. 

"Every day here is a gift. This is truly paradise," she said.  

Out-of-towners kicked off their shoes and enjoyed the sunshine. Some people even brought Christmas dinner to the beach and say people passing by are always looking for an invite. 

"First they want to take a picture of Santa and the tree. Then they want to join in and they want to know when the food is gonna be served and when their gifts are gonna be opened!" said Fort Myers resident Pat Dunning.  

Frank Rowe from Wisconsin says he gets chills just thinking about the freezing temperatures back home. 

"We just got done calling our kids. They were telling us they got a foot if snow or more," he said.  

Northerners brought their shovels and their snowman making skills to the shore.

Some even braved the surf. "A little cool, but it's still the beach. And it beats twenty below!"