Christmas Joy without Borders

In a closet at home in Hood River are boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations. They give me great joy, from the noodle angel Annie made at age three to the battery-operated dog who sings a hip-hop version of Jingle Bells.

This is the first year in my life that the boxes will stay in the closet.

We are experiencing a new kind of Christmas here in Oaxaca, replete with posadas (wandering parades of worshipers re-enacting the Blessed Couple’s search for a place to stay and have The Baby) and nacimientos, elaborate large nativity scenes where scale and Biblically-authenthic actors and environs play no role whatsoever. The idea seems to be to gather as many of God’s and man’s creations around Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus as humanly possible, and then light the living daylights out of it. I have seen 6-inch high cows next to foot-tall shepherds, next to elephants dwarfed by guys on motorcycles. Somehow this works for me, for Jesus taught that all are welcome in Bethlehem.

The irony of an arid Mexican city adopting Norte Americano Christmas decorations is lost on the population here, who gleefully sell Santa hats and plastic Douglas Firs and sing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas … just like the ones I used to know.”

We have wandered the city now for three weeks, miles every day, and I’ve been on high Christmas Alert. Here is some of what I’ve seen.

Santa on the pot
Santa on the pot
Giant ornament on the wall
Giant ornament on the wall
Flying pinata
Flying pinata
Funeral Christmas
Funeral Christmas
Hotel lobby tree
Hotel lobby tree
Reindeer hats sold from the hood of a car
High fructose corn syrup tree
High fructose corn syrup tree
Up on a tile rooftop, reindeer's paws
Up on a tile rooftop, reindeer’s paws
Build your own nacimiento: figurines galore
Build your own nacimiento: figurines galore
Oaxaca's colonial architecture reflected in a Christmas shop window
Oaxaca’s colonial architecture reflected in a Christmas shop window
Jose's nacimiento
Jose’s nacimiento
To package your Christmas purchases, a wreath that holds bags
To package your Christmas purchases, a wreath that holds bags
Captive tree
Captive tree
Choose your naciemiento herd from the grandaddy of nacimiento shops outside the Benito Juarez market
Choose your naciemiento herd from the grandaddy of nacimiento shops outside the Benito Juarez market
Mangers at the nacimiento store
Mangers at the nacimiento store
Every nacimiento needs a water feature
Every nacimiento needs a water feature
A hotel creche, complete with decorated agave
A hotel creche, complete with decorated agave
Getting a manicure while selling angels. kings and shepherds
Getting a manicure while selling angels. kings and shepherds
And finally, the big nacimiento in the zocalo, splendid at night

However you say it: Feliz Navidad.  And in case you’re wondering, here’s what I’ll be preparing for Christmas dinner: Roast turkey in mole negro with rice and fresh tortillas, marinated vegetable salad of tiny baby potatoes, carrots and beets with local goat cheese and locally-made apple cider vinager, and for dessert, Oaxacan chocolate panna cotta with candied tangerines

 

 

2 thoughts on “Christmas Joy without Borders

  1. Kathy,
    You write so well and I loved seeing and reading about what you are experiencing . When you described the nativity scene it reminded me of our families crèche with its ongoing collection of critters from various parts of the world. I decided tonight it was time to hand it down to Rainbow for Anessa to grow up with if her mom chooses. If she doesn’t that’s OK too.
    I hope your time away continues to be a haven for you and Stew.
    Your dinner menu looks wonderful.

    Keep the post coming.

    Joyce

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