Christmas is around the corner… music, decorations, food, gatherings with family and friends. This is my favorite season and I will be making lots of memories.
I’m from Puerto Rico and our holiday season will start with Thanksgiving and will end in Jan. 6 with The Three Kings, Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar they were the three kings that brought gifts to baby Jesus.
When I was growing up, my mom will decorate our home the next day after Thanksgiving. We have a 4 ft. tree that she will put in a table (so it will look bigger) and a small Nativity set under the tree. She will make curtains and pillows and get some poinsettia so our home looks festive. She will take pictures of us around the tree and she will make sure we all have a big smile.
On December 24 she will start it with cooked early morning with the help of my dad. They will have Christmas music that we called aguinaldos and started to get ready for dinner. Our menu will be arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), lechon a la varita (entire pork baked outdoor put in a stick), pasteles (mashed green banana with pork, cover with leaves, bananas), arroz con dulce (creamy rice with coconut milk), coquito (type of eggnog with coconut milk and Puerto Rican rum just for the adults). On Christmas Eve we called it “The Nochebuena” family and friends will get together at the rhythm of aguinaldos. We will go to midnight mass.
We will write our Christmas letters to The Three Kings. We can’t wait for the night of Jan 5 anxious to see what we were getting. We will go outside and grab grass, cut them nicely and tied them with a nice bow. Then we will put it in a shoe box ( my shoe box was always decorated) with water for the camels.
My mother was a story-teller. She will tell us stories of her childhood, especially the Christmas stories. We love Christmas.
My mom passed away in 1986 and my Dad has been living with me for the last two years. The old memories and remembering her joy and laughter still presence in my life. I love the new memories we all creating especially this time of the year. My kids grew up listening to these stories and now is my grandkids turn.
I still keep our traditions. In my home, we celebrated The Nochebuena with my family and friends and Christmas Day with just my kids and grandkids, we will open gifts, have pancakes for breakfast, and then our Christmas dinner. The Three Kings will come on the night of Jan 5th and no matter if the grandkids go to school on that date and I have to work we will be open gifts in the afternoon and have a delicious dinner just for us.
I’m have been blessed with a beautiful family.
I’m thankful for the memories of my childhood and the joy of my mother.
Let’s keep our traditions, let’s make new memories and teach our new generation how to love the holiday season.