Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Holidays in Mexico

The Holidays in Mexico

We are just completing our first holiday season in Mexico City and it has been a very memorable one. The Mexican people love color and lights and celebrations and there have been plenty of all.

Immediately following the open house of the Mexico City Temple the gardeners began planting poinsettias (noche buenas as they call them here in Mexico). I don't mean just a flower here and there but I mean thousands and thousands of flowers filling every flower bed on the manzana and more in pots in the Visitors Center. It is truly an amazing site!

After the flowers were planted, the lights began to go up, every tree and bush covered with lights. Some large, some small, some white and others colored. In addition to the trees, there were animal sculptures made of lights on the walls around the parking lot and areas of lights on the lawns. From our apartment window we had a great view .

In addition to the decorations there were choral groups that came and sang on the manzana every weekend. They had an area set up under a tent just outside the MTC and usually we had two or three groups perform on Saturday and Sunday. There was always a good attendance and it really added to the Christmas spirit. Each night many people came to walk around the manzana, listen to the music and visit the Vistors Center.

Our holiday celebration began with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at the Garvins. Everyone contributed to the feast and it was quite traditional: appetizers, turkey and ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, corn and peas, salad, orange rolls and lots of pies for dessert. Everyone was full and happy by the time we finished.

On December 1st we began our Christmas season in the Visitors Center by meeting with all the sister missionaries at the Center, decorating the trees and giving them small gifts. We then all went to the cafeteria for a wonderful Christmas meal. It was a very fun morning and you could see the joy on the missionaries' faces.

The week before Christmas we went down to the Zocolo (historic center of town) with some of the other senior missionaries. It was a fun outing to see all the lights and the skaters in the center of the square. There were also many people dressed up in unusual costumes, one, a very tall angel. When the Mexicanos decorate, they really decorate and the lights were unbelievable. After walking around and seeing the lights we had a fun dinner and then took the metro home.

On Christmas Eve we gathered at our house for appetizers (16 people total), then to the Scotts for soup and bread, then back to our house for dessert. We took turns telling of family Christmas traditions. We also read the Christmas story from Luke and sang Christmas songs. Afterwards we watched a short DVD prepared by Temple Square missionaries in the Salt Lake area. It was a great evening. Our house is not greatly decorated but we did find a few Mexican ornaments to
give it some feeling of the holidays. No tree but a wreath and some garland did the trick.

Christmas Day was a very quiet one for us but very nice. We talked to all the kids and most of the grandkids on our internet phone and just took it easy. That night we helped present a family home evening for the missionaries in the MTC. There was a spiritual program with readings and songs and then we played charades and pictionary. It was very fun. As you can imagine, some of the missionaries really got into it.

A couple of days before Christmas our ward held their annual Christmas party. Unfortunately we worked and missed the Ward Christmas Party but from what we hear it was a winner. We were told that there was a talent show which included the young adults re-enacting the Christmas Story complete with angels with halos and wings, devils fighting with Mary and with the angels, Joseph dressed in a green metallic suit with a gold waistband and a variety of unusual animals including a Cheshire-like cat. It seems they took a large dose of poetic license. There was also a lot of jokes told, hip-hop dancing, music with a South American flavor and traditional Mexican food. When we got home from work after 9:00 pm, the program was still going strong, but we were too tired to join in the fun.

All in all it has been a great holiday, one we will certainly never forget. Our best gift came on December 29th when Patrick, Monique and the kids came for a visit. That however is another post.

A Joyous New Year to all of our loved ones.