Wednesday, First Week of Advent
December 5 2007

Over the Border and through the Woods to Grandmother's House We Go...

This Christmas season we will not be putting up any Christmas decorations, no tramping into the woods to cut down the perfect tree with the kids, no struggling through the stores to find last minute presents for the family ( I am always a last minute shopper)
This year we are spending Christmas in Mexico City.
My husband?s grandmother, parents and many relatives live in Mexico and we are blessed to have the chance to spend Christmas with them this year.
I have not been in Mexico for 7 years and never for the Christmas season. I find myself excited not only by the trip, but more importantly to be part of the Christmas preparations through the customs of this deeply religious country.

My mother in law has gone to lengths to plan a posada for my kids to take part in. Their cousins ( most of whom they have only met once) will congregate at her house in San Miguel de Allende  which is 3 hours from Mexico city. The posada is a procession through the town following the story of the Nativity and a traditional part of Christmas in Mexico. During the posada, the children are turned away from two houses and then finally let in to the third house for a party. There will be lots of music, a pi?ata (I?m sure) and reacquainting with the family.
 I also hope to attend los pastorelas. These are ?Shepherds plays?- usually improvised that tell about the shepherd?s adoration of the Christ Child.
 Noche Buena( Christmas Eve) is spent at a late mass and afterwards the family gathers for a meal at Grandmother?s house, exchanging gifts,  breaking more pinatas and setting off sparklers or fireworks. The celebration usually lasts into the early hours of Christmas and Christmas Day is usually set aside as a day of rest. We will see many aunt, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews during our visit and expect little rest to be part of the equation.
We will spend the week before Christmas touring the beautiful churches in the area, going to festivals, processions and watching fireworks that are always happening this time of year.
There will be no Santa Claus and my children, ages 13 and 15 years old, my husband and I will gain a different perspective on how the Christmas season is celebrated. Our Christmas presents to each other will be the memories of our trip and the chance to share this wonderful experience with our large family in Mexico.

-- Brenda Davis
Assistant Director, Opportunity Programs