What’s Christmas like for you?

Mon Dec 23, 2013

We can hear the parranderos coming up the block. Everyone carries an instrument–or a bottle, and our table is like a pair of open arms, un abrazo pa la familia.

The home is thrown open and Christmas wafts out on the smell of roasting pig, and settles in glasses of coquito adorned with cinnamon twigs. The pasteles are dressed in banana leaves and stacked on trays between rice and beans, arroz con dulce, and avocado by the slice.

Here, the holiday spirit is wrapped up palm trees in multi-colored lights. And during the day, the sun shines bright leaving us with sea-breeze nights and a love-filled haze of pool-side domino games. The women serve up bacalaitos frito, and keep the glasses filled, then return to take seats with sisters, nieces, and grand babies with toothless smiles and chubby feet.

It’s all love. As it should be.

Even without the snow, there’s something about the season here. You can see it in how the children stare at the gifts under the tree, hoping Santa read their lists carefully, and praying he couldn’t see all their maldades throughout the year. At midnight, they will open one, and the night’s sleep will be sweet. Just like the coquito in my glass.