Posts Tagged ‘Christmas trees’

It’s a quiet Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) in my childhood home here in el norte. There are no sparklers to wave, no nacimiento (nativity scene) stands in the town square, and no posadas have knocked on the front door. Instead, my younger son and I bought a Douglas Fir and decorated it with four generations of Christmas ornaments hauled down from the attic. Stockings hang from the mantle, gifts are piling up, and in our dreams we channel our inner child and await Santa’s arrival.

In Oaxaca, a Christmas tree and holiday lights went up in the zócalo, along with plantings of nochebuenas (poinsettias), at the beginning of December. A nacimiento was constructed in the Plaza de la Danza, and if one looks up a piñata or two might be spotted floating high above.

As has been my blog’s annual Christmas Eve tradition: “Pancho Claus” by the man known as the “father of Chicano music,” Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero. This year’s version is the original from 1956. The song is a delightful parody of the Clement C. Moore classic, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” — and it has inspired real life Tex-Mex Santas.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa
Mama she was busy preparing the masa
To make the tamales for the tamalada
And all the ingredients for the enchiladas

Papa in the front room with all the muchachas
Was dancing the mambo and doing the cha cha
My brothers and sisters were out in the hall
Listening to Elvis singing rock ‘n roll

When all of a sudden there came such a racket
I jumped out of bed and I put on my jacket
I looked out the window and in front of the house
Was my old uncle Pedro as drunk as a louse
He ran in the casa he grabbed the guitarra
He let out a yell – “Ay, Ay, Ay” and sang Guadalajara,
“Guadalajara Guadalajara, Guadalajara Guadalajara”

I was starting to wonder as I lay there alone
How old Santa Claus was to visit my home
With all of this noise they would scare him away
When all of a sudden I hear someone say
Hey Pablo, Chuchito Hey! Arriba! Gordito, Jose
Get up there you bums or you don’t get no hay

And then to my wondering eyes did appear
Eight cute little donkeys instead of reindeer
They pulled a carreta that was full of toys
For all of us good little girls and boys

The fat little driver waved his big sombrero
And said Merry Christmas! Feliz Año Nuevo!
That means “Happy New Year”
And then I hear him sing

I am Santa’s cousin from south of the border
My name’s Pancho Claus and I bring you your order
I hear him exclaim as he drove past the porches
“Merry Christmas to all and to all Buenas Noches”

As a gift to us all, this year “Pancho Claus” the book, with illustrations by Bob Mackie, was published, along with “Pancho Claus Volume 2” featuring the lyrics of another Lalo Guerrero Christmas song, “Mario from the Barrio.” (El Paso Herald Post, Dec. 22, 2019) I’ve put them both on my list!

Many thanks for reading my blog. I wish you ¡Felices Fiestas! and peace and joy through the new year.

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For the first time since I began nesting in my cozy little rooftop casita, I’m not heading north for Christmas.  I admit to having decidedly mixed feelings; my family and most of my closest friends are up in El Norte and I’m already missing them and the traditions we have created.  However, this year I get to share the holidays with new friends, create new traditions, and experience festivities heretofore unimagined — Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes)?  I can’t wait!

In the meantime, to bring a little of the familiar into the mix, I bought a Christmas tree.  Not a real one (sad face) and not one of those seen below that my local supermarket has had for sale for several weeks.  Mine is decidedly smaller, measuring exactly two feet, and…

Three decorated Christmas trees with 30% discount signs

too small to hang my favorite Mexican ornaments on its un-scented, wiry but green(!) boughs.  These colorful and wonderfully bouncy decorations will be purchased and a place for them in and around Casita Colibrí will be found.


Trimming my tree will present some challenges.  No cartons of ornaments, lovingly collected and stored by four generations of the family, to bring down from the attic.  And, as I’ve said, the tree is tiny.  I’m thinking… digging into my earring collection might be a good place to start.


However, these earrings will have to wait to adorn the tree until after I wear them tomorrow.  December 8 is the celebration of the Virgen de Juquila — the first of three Vírgenes honored by Oaxaqueños in December.  There will be parades.  There will be fireworks.  There will be wildly clanging church bells.  And, there will be an abundance of magic this month, of this I have no doubt!

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