Long time readers know I spent most of my growing-up years in a tiny town in west Texas. "Border culture" is the norm there---not quite Mexican, but not quite American either. Language is a variant of Spanglish...foods and traditions have something for everyone. You'd be hard pressed to find a little old lady who wouldn't tell you about the time she slept with Pancho Villa or a rancher who doesn't have a few "exchange students" helping out. There are certain rhythms and traditions to the year there---whether its the parade of decorated and honking cars roaming the town after a wedding to the smell of roasting green chiles in the fall.
Christmas is no different, mind you. And at this time of year, when I drive around and see the pretty light displays, I secretly ache to see houses decked out in orange and blue---colours meant to ward off evil. They are a reminder that Christmas has always been---and will always be---a fusion of beliefs.
In this area, a version of La Posada was held for the first time. There were angry and ignorant comments in the newspaper here. People were offended by the idea. As for me? I remembered my early teaching years in Carlsbad, where their style of La Posada was to offer shots of tequila with each stop along the way. I laughed, thinking of the journeys we had...and wondered how those insisting that "American" culture be practiced here would have reacted to going along from party to party?
I feel fortunate to have lived in some different places and had the chance to experience this time of year and what it means to other families and cultures. Christmas here may be different from celebrations there, but time with family and friends seems to be constant. Whatever your own traditions are, may they bring you much happiness this year.