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Here Comes Christmas

Alexis CastilloComment

It's completely strange that Christmas here is the beginnings of beach goings and the season for well ripened watermelons.
I mean, not kidding it was never actually cold growing up at Christmastime... both southern CA and south Louisiana testify to outdoor gatherings where the majority are donned in tank tops and flip flops. It probably would have been smart to get some Christmas t-shirts made up.
But still. It was supposed to be cold. My Snoopy calendar said so. If there were to be a flurry, it would have been super welcome, albeit slightly shocking.

Of course, traveling to grandma's there was a better chance of snow and sledding. Something about plastic trees because there is no other option is not quite the same as, "I choose the fake tree because it suits my lifestyle." (I know, I'm so American.)
But in Peru, there are no Christmas tree farms, and certainly no Douglas firs growing in random front yards. Cactus, sure. However I have not seen anyone decoratively light one up yet. I presume it would be equally spectacular.

So in addition to breaking out the shorts, hats, and some serious sunblock, I'm trying to make the season feel more Christmas-like. Honestly putting Christmas radio on makes me weep, as this is certainly NOT the most wonderful time of the year, and is instead a completely foreign-feeling holiday. I'm trying not to cry about it.

Unlike, say, Christmas in Japan, Peru does clearly recognize the holiday... so that's something. It's just a mildly less commercialized version of the advertised holiday we all have come to know and mostly love.

But I do find it irksome that there is not a summery, local tradition to counter the snowy trees and reindeer lawns that are prevelant in the northern hemisphere. No. There is still fake snow and penguins and polar bears grinning ridiculously as summer bakes upon our heads and we are fanning ourselves without the aid of air conditioning. Please. It just feels somehow... undignified.

But walk into any Starbucks here, and I am transported. But then once I leave, rather irritated. Because on the one hand, yes: this totally was the ambiance I was looking for to make the season merry & bright. But then, no, and eww. Because from this side of things it's such a fakery. Making of emotions is something we are pretty well aware of at this point... so I can't pin down what the problem is exactly. Just that there's no string of lights to carry me from one store to the next? That I am clearly not in a poorly made Christmas movie because we don't have the right costumes on (ie, steaming hot chocolate, festive hat, optional woolly sweater)? Just for the record I am a willing sucker to and for all of these things.

I have come to the conclusion that it is really more about expectations than anything. Which is good news, right? 
Let's just say that it's good news.
So now all I need to do is... change. Right. My kids don't know a different Christmas experience at this point. They don't seem to notice my arbitrary weepings about this any more than any other thing.

I can make our South American Christmas as merry and summery as we can imagine. No fake snow allowed.
And maybe if I hear Bing sing about White Christmases try to refrain from audible tears. It is surely not at all sad.