This was my first Christmas away from my family in Canada. My first Christmas in Mexico. There are some stark contrasts, and then some subtle ones.
#1 difference has to be...NO SNOW!!
We put up lights and Miguel has fiddled with them a couple of times but still doesn't have them strung the way he wants. Maybe next year. But I like how the garden looks at night with lighting, and may have to keep a couple of the white lights around all year.
We have a fake tree - my first fake tree EVER. It's in the living room, and all it has on it is two strings of blinking mini lights, and topped with a broken string of white grape clusters (only 4 of the 10 clusters work, so I grouped them together and put them on the top instead of a star). With a kitten in the house I figure we're lucky to have anything on that tree. Maya keeps mauling the lower branches and has pulled the string of lights and messed up the sequence a couple of times. She seems bored with it now, but cats are funny - you can never assume they are bored with something and let your guard down. The minute you start to trust a cat, they go back to doing what you didn't want them to do - I think they plan it that way just to keep you on your toes.
We have another small fake tree just outside the front door. While I was in Canada I went to my favorite store - Canadian Tire (no, it's not just tires!) - and they had a sale on Christmas trees. A 2' tree, already strung with lights, for $15. So I bought it and brought it in a large bag all the way to Mexico, and was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box and found TWO trees in there. So one went to Capi's Apartment and the other decorates the front terrace.
In Canada I just had a small ceramic Christmas tree, and I did not have any cats to mess up decorations. I have a lot of decorations there, including a large collection of white bears. My daughter used a few of my decorations but most just stayed in the box; I will have to give some away and bring my favorites to Mexico.
On Christmas Eve after work, I wrapped the gifts for my neighbor's three children and took them over. I was touched to receive an adorable lamb candle in return. So cute I cannot light it; it is under the fake tree with three religious-looking statues. The story on the statues is that Miguel spotted them dumped at the side of the road a few months ago and there was nothing wrong with them other than the baby was broken. So he rescued the set, fixed the baby, and gave half of the statues to his daughter, including the baby. I think the statues make up part of a nativity scene but not being religious or Catholic, I'm really not sure. It looks like one is Mary and the others are a couple of the Kings, but if that's the case, why would Miguel have split up Mary, Joseph and the baby? I'm not sure asking the question will get me an answer I understand (Miguel's logic versus mine), so I'll probably just let it go and let him have his statues the way he wants them (he put them under the tree). But I remember my child's picture bible, and there were always animals in the pictures, so the lamb fits into the semi-nativity scene quite nicely, I think.
(to be continued - It's Noisy!!)...