This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Latina Mom Bloggers
and JCPenney. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just a week away! Well, for us, because we celebrate it on the 24th. In Latin-American culture, Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) is the big day! This is when we gather together, staying up all night to eat, dance, sing, tell stories, and eat some more. In Mexico, dinner usually consists of tamales, a turkey, and lots of sweets. The nacimiento (nativity scene) is the center of it all! My aunt in Mexico creates a super elaborate one with lakes and bridges that takes up an entire table top. The thing is – baby Jesus doesn’t show up until he is ‘born’ on Christmas Eve. I love that!
After baby Jesus is born – and we pray and sing some songs – we take turns exchanging gifts, with everyone having picked names out of a hat in the weeks before Christmas. With more than 30 cousins and 9 aunts and uncles (and their significant others) la familia is just too big to buy for everyone! The kids exchange gifts; the adults, too, saying a little something about their surprise recipient before handing over the gift, leaving everyone guessing as to who it might be.
Being Mexican-American, our traditions when I was little were somewhat confusing, which is also the case now, with my Mexican-Bolivian-American daughters! We have a nativity scene, but it’s a simple one. The girls believe in Santa, but they also believe in the three Kings that visit us in January. On Christmas Eve, they run up to bed at just past midnight, afraid that Santa won’t stop by if they’re not snug in their beds. Christmas Day, they wake us up early, open presents, and the rest of the day is spent at home, just a quiet day, playing with new toys and relaxing.
My Mexican side of the family finds our newest tradition – Elf on the Shelf – hilarious, and doesn’t quite understand it! I share pictures on Facebook and have to explain it every time.
If you want to learn more about how Latino families celebrate the holidays, watch the JCPenney “Real Holidays by Real Families” video series!
JCPenney wants to share the spirit of Christmas – the real spirit that lives in Latino homes in the US, a celebration of real-life holiday traditions. With so many reasonably-priced gifts to choose from – and cute outfits for holiday parties! – JCPenney is a one stop shop, making it easier for me during this busy time of year.