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Firefly traditional christmas tree with decorations 39913 webWe are quite traditional in our family. And I bet that you too have traditions. In my family, my children just won’t let me take the easy way out. It is no trouble to pull out the artificial tree still decorated with strings of lights and glittery ornaments. Well, not in my family – my children won’t let me do it the easy way.

The tree has to be real, and the house has to smell like Christmas.

Christmas Eve begins with the traditional homemade chili and delicious tamales. The tamales have become my responsibility. This year, I decided to try a different company – but which one? I had no idea where to begin, so I turned to the experts – my Mexican friends who know much more about tamales than I. After I narrowed down the recommendations to the top two, it was time to sample and make the final decision.

Now the only way to make that decision was to sample the goods. For several days, we were eating tamales for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as we enjoyed the different flavors of cream cheese and jalapenos, chicken and cheese, pork, and spicy pork. Oh yum – Were they good!

Finally, a decision was reached, and the order was placed for sixteen dozen. I will have to admit, only 15 dozen will make it to the family celebration. My oldest daughter and I will eat a dozen before we are out of the Valley.

Now that is just the beginning. Christmas Eve is never complete until we all sit down to watch Dickens Christmas Carol with Tiny Tim and Scrooge.

Woe to the in-laws who have joined our family for Christmas morning and brings another tradition of gift opening. Gifts are opened only one at a time. The youngest of the family distributes the presents and waits patiently while the gift is opened and then passed around from one family member to another to oh and ah over the gift. This is not a quick process and generally is not finished until almost noon. While opening gifts, we all partake of the homemade sausage balls, orange juice, and coffee to sustain us through the process of enjoying Christmas morning together.

Years ago, when the children were little, we had another tradition and that was to celebrate the Baby Jesus’ birthday. All their little friends were invited to the party. When all had arrived, we visited a pre-selected church to visit the Baby Jesus and give him a gift – sometimes it was a penny or whatever the child could afford. Before we returned home to enjoy the star shaped birthday cake, each child received their own gift of a small manger set with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. We need some great grandchildren to revive this tradition.

As you read this, a group will be leaving to enjoy Christmas celebrations in Mexico City. Hopefully we will get to participate in a posada. Once we arrive in Mexico City, there will be many decorations, pinatas, and special Christmas scenes. This tour was an annual event before the pandemic temporarily brought traveling to a halt. Now it is back again and hopefully will continue year after year. If you haven’t been, watch for it next year. Mexico goes all out for Christmas.

Have you ever wondered how or why we give gifts at Christmas? This is a tradition that many countries celebrate. It all began with a Catholic Bishop who inherited a lot of money. He gave it all away as gifts to the poor who were in need. Soon others began to follow the Bishop’s example by sharing with others. Look it up on a computer and read all about St. Nicholas whose name evolved into Santa Claus.

My gift to all of you – Wherever you may be – is that you will enjoy a blessed and joyful Christmas.