This year Greg and I had a very Mexican Christmas. We swapped the snow for palm trees, the Christmas Morning celebration for the Christmas Eve celebration, the turkey dinner for chef Paz’s amazing food, and the ski trip for time at an all-inclusive beach resort.
Christmas this year was in Merida, Yucatan. My dad was the big host, so all the family traveled from Mexico City to Merida and spent a few days with us in the hot, non-Christmas-y weather.
The family celebration for us Mexicans is on Christmas Eve, which is when we open presents and have the big dinner. Seeing that we now have several small children in the family (Paz and I are no longer the babies of the family…), we all agreed on an earlier, 7PM celebration this year. Surprisingly, everyone was only fashionably late (and not really late as usual), so the night got started mostly on time.
After some sparklers by the pool, opening presents was the next item on the itinerary, as it is the most exciting and important part of Christmas for the little ones and needed to be completed before they fell asleep (or got grumpy). To get started, we all got drinks and took a seat around the Christmas Reindeer (no tree this year, so instead my dad got a large, wooden reindeer to act as the tree and watch over the presents). The kids opened their presents and delivered the remaining ones to the rest of the family over the next three, long, loud and crazy hours.
As this activity takes forever every single Christmas, and everyone starts hurrying the kids along so we can eat, my cousin Mateo instituted a $50 pesos fine for anyone who complained about the pace of the evening. Even with the fine we still had a few family members (the usual suspects, i.e. Aunt Cristina) complained. In the end $300 pesos where collected and then given to the chef, my sister Paz, who had cooked a delicious meal for the family that included a red and yellow bell-pepper soup, prime-rib ravioli, fish and a butterscotch dessert; it was beyond words how delicious the food was (sorry, no photos as we were so busy enjoying the eating, drinking and yelling that Greg and I forgot). Aside from Paz’s masterpieces, we also had cochinita pibil (traditional Yucatan pork dish), lechon (baby piggy) and an apple salad (which is a must-have for me so I had to get in the kitchen and make it).
Dinner was followed by a series of family toasts, and finally a couple more hours of loud talking and laughter. We had a long, fun-filled night, which could only mean one thing: Christmas was a success this year.
Feliz Navidad everyone!