This was our second Christmas in Uruguay. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to spending the holidays in the summer but I don’t really have much of a choice.
Most Hispanics will tell you that REAL Christmas is on December 24th, aka “Noche Buena,” and the 25th is really just a day to recuperate from all the drinking and eating the night before. In Miami I used to spend Noche Buena, again like most Hispanics, bouncing from house to house. I would always start with dinner at my house, then head to my in-laws houses, and proceeding to go to my husbands extended families houses. It was a long night of eating and trying to gauge on how to stay sober enough to drive (this was obviously pre-baby).
Christmas in Uruguay, while yes they celebrate the 24th, is a bit different. The 24th is dedicated to spending time with family but the real party starts on the 25th. At midnight they shoot off fireworks and open their presents from Santa, aka “Papá Noel,” and do whatever else they do. I wouldn’t know what they do after the fireworks because I’ve been in bed by the time the fireworks go off two years running. On the 25th they usually have barbecues with friends and spend the time talking and eating. Some families spend their day at the beach or lounging in their inflatable pools.
Since summer starts a few days before Christmas here, a lot of people spend their Christmas on vacation in Punta del Este or Brazil. Lounging on beaches and enjoying the sun doesn’t really FEEL like Christmas to ME but I’m sure most people on the north side of the equator would feel the same.
This year while sure we ate our traditional Cuban meal of lechón with white rice and black beans, it just didn’t feel like Christmas. I can say that I loved that Paloma loved her gifts. This year we got her a slide, puzzles, one of those pull string walking toys and a scoot car toy. I love her reaction every time she goes down the slide! She laughs and laughs and has now tried climbing UP the slide. I would have taken pictures but let’s be real I was too busy trying to control my panic attack. Christmas morning we had breakfast and watched Disneys A Christmas Carol and Home Alone. Home Alone was the first movie Paloma actually sat and watched the WHOLE thing. She’s got great taste.
It was nice to spend time with my family without worrying about other things, which at the end of the day is what the holidays are about.
Merry belated Christmas!