Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm dreaming of a New Mexico Christmas

Christmas in New Mexico is something I believe everyone should experience at least once. Some areas get snow and there's a chill in the air, but it's enjoyable and you can get through it pretty well. I'm sure people in Chicago might appreciate at New Mexico winter. Tonight, in Tularosa, is the annual luminaria display, which family tradition dictates as the night we all wear our coats and Santa hats and walk around the village to view the beautiful displays of luminarias on historical homes and the church. The luminaria glow looks like it could warm your bones just from the light of a single candle. Traditional foods will be cooked, turkey and ham, pies and cakes. But in New Mexico we'll also have menudo and tamales and maybe some green chile stew. Most years it is pretty sunny outside and you can let the children play with their new toys, or in some cases just the boxes. Sometimes it snows even in the southern part of the state, a couple of years have been a white Christmas. Because the sense of family spreads so far in New Mexico to include friends and neighbors, we'll be making a couple of local trips to visit with each. This is the only state I've every lived in where people wave at you when you pass down the street just because, even if they don't know you. The sun will set beyond majestic purple mountains with pink and orange glowing clouds reflecting the last rays of sunlight. The fireplace might be lit with bits of wrapping paper used as kindlin. The children will "ooh" and "ahh" all the different colors the paper makes. We'll tuck in sleepy, smiling children who, though tired, will insist they aren't really that sleepy. Then the adults will play cards, drink cider, and head to bed satified in belly and heart at the day's adventures. I think no matter where I've ever lived or ever may live, my parent's home and New Mexico will always be my home for Christmas.

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