I approach Christmas with some trepidation (to say the least). I'm one of the people they talk about who experiences anxiety more than anticipation, and so is my husband. So this year I was surprised by the happiness that enveloped me when we went for a Christmas Eve cena, dinner, at the house of friends in the colonia with grandparents, mother and father, son and daughter in law and our favorite neighborhood little kid. The two other daughters were in and out with friends for much of the evening. Everardo works in the fish stalls at the Coatepec market and brought up crab and maybe robano or bass which Doña J cooked into a delicious soup. Everardo is endlessly curious about the United States so we regaled him and his wife with descriptions. His grandfather had lived in the US, near Chicago and added his own memories, often confirming what we said. We laughed an awful lot. It seems odd here to people, almost unbelievable, that Christmas Eve isn't generally celebrated so fluidly with people in and out and firecrackers going off and finally the the payasos, dressed this time in white and shaking their noisemakers as they danced down the street leading the final posada of the season. We left pretty early, at least early for Christmas Eve. A lot of people would go to services at the church in the Colonia and then continue partying until early morning.
Christmas Day is more a day of rest. The streets were quiet when we went to our American friends' house in Xico where we had late-afternoon jambalaya with enormous, juicy shrimp for dinner and plates piled high with sweet desserts. The father of an almost adopted young woman and HIS father were there and so was Miguel, the now-famous-in-our-area dog trainer and his two sons and a cousin of theirs and his wife. I know it was unusually warm on the east coast of the US, and it was here, too, with temperatures close to eighty, if not eighty, but it still felt a lot like Christmas.