Holiday Memories: Elena shares her story

Like most families, Christmas is a special time of the year for us.  I love everything about Christmas – even the quirky traditions that we all laugh about.  Being in a Mexican-American family, you would think that we would have some serious Latino influences on our holidays.   But besides having lots of salsa and tamales at Christmas – everything else is pretty normal… or is it?
After our big Christmas dinner, my Mom gets out the Christmas songbooks.  She passes them out to everyone as they roll their eyes in disgust.  I can see them (mostly the men) mouthing the words -“not again”.  I am sure they are all thinking – when are we going to stop this tradition?  I kind of like it.  We start out with the religious songs first like Silent Night and the Little Star of Bethlehem and end with the Santa Claus songs. Everyone reluctantly sings the songs, but as we go on, everyone gets into it little bit more.  Maybe that it why my Mom makes us do it.  Because everyone really does enjoy it after a while.  As we close with our rendition of Santa Claus is coming to town, we hear a knock on the door…….
My brother-in-law dresses up as Santa Claus every year.  He’s been doing it for about 10 years so he has really got his money out of his suit.  A couple of years ago, my eldest daughter (who was 9 at the time), suspected that Santa Claus was her uncle and we had to get creative last year.  Fortunately for me, my neighbor across the street had the same exact problem.  We  came up with a great idea – we will switch Santa Clauses.  Her brother could come to our house to pass out the gifts and my brother-in-law will go to her house.  My brother-in-law is tall and thin and the new Santa Claus was shorter and heavier so there was no mistaking that they were different people.  My daughter looked out the window after he left so she could see where he went, but lost him in the snow. To this day she is clueless on who that other Santa was.  Of course, she still asks and guesses who he was.  I will tell her someday, but for now, it’s nice to keep an 11 year old guessing.  Especially when she think she knows everything already.
After the kids get all of their gifts and start the madness of unwrapping and throwing around bows,  the adults pass out their gifts.  As a rule, we don’t go overboard on gifts. The adult gifts usually are things likes gift cards, food products, scarves – and the gift of music.  My sisters and cousins have been exchanging a particular interesting gift over the past 15 years – the David Hasselhof CD (I hear he is really big in Germany).  It s always fun to see who gets it and how they try to disguise the CD buy putting it in a really big box or hiding it in something else.  Since a year is a long time to remember who had the CD last time, it is always a surprise for that person who gets it.  I’m not sure how long we will be doing it – probably until the CD breaks.  I know one year my sister tried to ram the CD (without the case) into a large wine bottle.  Of course that was after we drank the wine in the bottle.
Overall, I think we have pretty normal traditions around Christmas.  Sure there  is a lot of drinking and eating, but no fighting.  We will wait for the day after Christmas to start our family feuds.  Maybe that is why the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day in Canada. I wonder if David Hasselhof is big there?
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