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#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays

Celebrating the Holidays Biculturally

by Deborah Cruz

Disclosure:  This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Hallmark and Latina Bloggers Connect.

This time of year is all about celebrating family. No matter what direction life takes us as we grow into adulthood and have children of our own, our upbringing keeps us grounded in the roots of our culture. Family is still everything.

As a child in a biracial home, the one thing I looked forward to every December was Christmas eve and celebrating Nochebuena. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was a Latino custom until I was in university. It was just how we had always celebrated.

Most people look forward to Christmas morning but not in our house; in our house it was all about Nochebuena. Every year I looked forward to decorating the tree, eating sweet and savory tamales, buñuelos, attending the posadas celebrations and mostly being together with my parents and my brothers and sisters during the holiday celebrating.

We grew up fairly poor and to be honest, I don’t ever remember believing in Santa Claus… ever. I’m sure when I was very small that I did but I couldn’t have been older than 4. I know, it’s sad. That’s probably why I try so hard to maintain the magic for my own girls, as long as possible. It’s probably the reason the gifts spill out from under the tree and out into the middle of the living room floor every year. This is why we have 5 elfs on the shelf and watch every single holiday classic. I’m trying to preserve their childhood magic for as long as I possibly can. So please, if your kid doesn’t believe in Santa…keep them away from my children.

On Christmas Eve before midnight mass, we would eat and drink and have a blast listening to Christmas music. It was always very exciting. My dad videotaped every Christmas Eve. It was the one night of the year where we all felt happy and things like money and possessions didn’t mean anything. We just enjoyed being together.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays

After all of the eating, drinking, dancing and laughing, we’d venture out into the cold winter night and attend mass. I have very fond memories of those ethereal nights attending church on Christmas Eve. I was there every Sunday but somehow on Nochebuena, it was like God and the angels themselves were in the building or maybe it was just the weary eyes of a small child, half dreaming my way through the celebration.

After mass was done, as a family, we’d go home and were allowed to open one present. That was a huge deal because we only ever got to ask for ONE present… the rest were socks and underwear because that’s how it works in a home when you are struggling financially. You were allowed to ask for ONE gift that you wanted, everything else was what you needed and even then it wasn’t much, basically just something to open.

We knew my mom bought us our “BIG” Gift because she asked us what we wanted. When we opened it, we were grateful. We knew there was no Santa because if there was we wouldn’t be opening socks and underwear on Christmas morning but we didn’t care.

Every year of my childhood and still now, I look forward to Christmas Eve because, for us, it is the best night of the year. My celebration with my children may look a little different than it did back then because, just as I was  biracial child, so are my children. There are not 6 children and we don’t make it to midnight mass because our girls aren’t old enough to stay up that late yet. We go to the 6 p.m. mass, then to celebrate with family and then we come home and put on our matching pajamas to wake up early the next morning to open presents together. My children still have the luxury of believing in Santa Claus. Even though the celebration might not look exactly the same, the sentiment is…family is the most important thing on Nochebuena.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays
This holiday season Hallmark helps Latinos celebrate and connect with family and friends. Hallmark’s assortment of cards in English and Spanish cultivate traditions with loved ones, both during the holidays and every day. Hallmark’s beautiful, hand-designed cards offer something for everyone on your list.

Some cards are funny, lighthearted, religious and heartfelt. All are perfect for the holiday season. Hallmark cards speak to the language that everyone understands — the heart, whether it’s for mama, papa, los abuelos, brother/sisters the kids and/or a significant other.

Visit Hallmark.com or a participating store to find the perfect holiday (or every day) cards for those you love.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays


I will be giving one lucky reader an assortment of five Hallmark Holiday and Everyday cards in a set (3 holiday and 2 everyday) and a $25 Hallmark Gift Card.

The giveaway is open to readers over the age of 18 that live in the contiguous U.S. No Puerto Rico. The giveaway will end December 20, 2015 t 11:59 p.m. EST.


Mandatory entry: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

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LaTanya 2015/12/16 - 3:51 pm

baking and decorating cookies for “santa”

Deborah Cruz 2015/12/16 - 5:16 pm

Oh yes, the annual decorating of the Santa cookies…or more accurately in our house, the decorating with all the icing and sprinkles within a 50 mile radius of our home:)

Mami2jcn 2015/12/16 - 4:49 pm

I love driving around to look at Christmas lights.

Deborah Cruz 2015/12/16 - 5:14 pm

Me too! ALl though, this year it’s been weird because there is no snow and the lights just don’t look right to me since I expect snow in December…not 70 degree weather:)

Ellie Wright 2015/12/17 - 12:33 am

My favorite holiday tradition is the treasure hunt we set up for the kids on Christmas morning. Starting with a note under their pillows they follow clues left all over the house that leads to a special gift.

Laura J 2015/12/17 - 1:28 am

Oh one of my favorites is our Elf on the Shelf Jack! Oh he does such silly things at night….so much fun!

MelC 2015/12/17 - 8:08 pm

I love making homemade ornaments with my children and decorating the tree with them, I also make a reindeer t-shirt with my kids using their handprints every year.

HS 2015/12/18 - 10:20 am

I love decorate the tree with my family.

Elisabeth 2015/12/19 - 11:44 pm

I love going to go pick out and chop down our own Christmas tree!

Heather Dawn 2015/12/20 - 10:25 pm

I love baking with my boys! We try new recipes every few days.


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