Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Little like Christmas

What's Christmas to a Midwesterner without an evergreen tree, mall music, and a lot of snow? How do you make Christmas merry and bright here in Loreto? Well, as with everything else here, you improvise. Those of us lucky enough to be in Loreto Bay for the holidays are finding our own ways to creating the Christmas spirit. Some of us have lights strung on our terraces or towers. I think those of us with small children feel more incentive to work at it, but it's hard. Finding a Christmas tree is near impossible.
I did see two plastic trees for sale today outside a store on Salvatierre Boulevard. One was a shade of green I can only describe as Grinch lime-green. I was tempted to buy it for novelty's sake, instead, we cut a few birch-like branches from trees near the arroyo and fashioned them into a rustic "tree." My husband stood them up in a clay pot and added rocks for support. I dressed the pot with a red bikini wrap and our daughter hung ornaments we'd brought from home. It might have been easier to have just decorated a cactus. I've seen that done here.

In Loreto you will find several outdoor town-sponsored nativity scenes, they not being illegal as is often the case in America. The mother of all nativity scenes ever has to be the one on at the end of Benito Juarez Avenue. The red devil in the background is priceless. I'm not sure which is more amusing--he, or the turkey, the duck, and the chickens mulling with the sheep at the manger. Vendors make small efforts to spread the cheer with decorations and lights, but overall the Christmas mood is subdued.
I kind of like that. There are a few giant pinatas strung down the Mission Boulevard and the other major boulevards. They are particularly eye-catching and lovely. There's a big stuffed Santa perched on the balcony of City Hall. My favorite effort is the chic simplicity of the lights in the trees above the Latte Cafe courtyard next to the town square. Beneath them I sat with my girlfriends last evening sipping our cappuccinos. It would have been a perfect atmosphere if not for the thump-thump of the bass coming from cruising cars.

There'll be no last minute runs to to mall for gifts. Whatever else I need I have ordered online and asked my sons to carry with them when they fly in on Christmas Day. We snuck a frozen turkey over the border (don't even know if that's a no-no or not.) I think I can find sweet potatoes at the Pescador, but who knows? We may have rice and beans alongside our lovely roasted Butterball. But I draw the line at tortillas. We will bake bread. What we will have is beautiful weather, a plethora of outdoor activities that don't require parkas and snow boots, and a respite from the crazy consumer-driven Christmas we are so accustomed to in the U.S. Other families in the community are celebrating in their own make-shift ways, but mostly it all centers on a wonderful meal with the people we love most.