The Noise and "Business as Usual"
Christmas Eve in Canada for me was like the calm before the storm. With all the shopping done, it was time to turn on the Christmas tunes, light the fire, and break the bread for dressing. The evening would be spent wrapping gifts and preparing for the big family party on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). The streets were basically deserted since just about everything had shut down by 6 pm at the latest.
Here, nothing seemed all that different. We were even able to buy lottery tickets on both Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day. We went out with Loco dressed in his Santa hat and neck decoration to distribute gifts we had for some of our local families. We had a big bag of little extras and gave those to kids we encountered here and there.
One of the most noticeable differences for me was the amount of noise out there. Nothing peaceful and calm about Christmas Eve. The town had a parade of Santa floats going up and down the island, calling to all the children to come and get their gifts. My neighbors had a party and cranked up the music. Most of the neighborhood seemed to have firecrackers, and all the popping drove Loco under the bed. The music and fireworks continued until at least 5 am.
Christmas morning we were up at our usual time - 6 am or so. NOBODY else in the colonia was up until much later, they were tired from their all-night party. We went to the mercado and hardly anyone was stirring there either. But later in the day we drove around and found all businesses open and people going about their daily routines like it was just another day.
I cooked our turkey dinner and we just enjoyed the food and the music. We took a couple of short drives while the turkey was roasting and visited with a few locals. We called our families in Oaxaca and Canada.
I missed my family and our yearly party and I think they missed me a bit, but my sister took over the hosting and my daughter baked the pies. I did not miss all the materialism and commercialism of Christmas and although I hope Miguel and I can be in Canada next year, I know he will be shocked by the excesses he'll witness there. It feels good to be down-sizing on Christmas, and it felt really good not to have to bundle up and face the cold and snow.
Now we prepare for New Year's here!