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noche buena

santa claus, nochecbuena, sears

This is a compensated post written in collaboration with Sears and Latina Bloggers Connect.

As a child in a biracial home, the one thing I looked forward to every holiday season was Christmas eve. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was a Latino custom until I was in university.It was just how it was…it was la Nochebuena. I know most people look forward to Christmas morning but not in our house.  I loved the holiday season; decorating the tree, eating sweet and savory tamales, buñuelos, attending the posadas celebrations and watching Rudolph with my brothers and sisters but hands down, Christmas Eve was the big deal in our house.

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 why the gifts pour out from the tree and out to 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.

Anyways, every year on Christmas Eve before midnight mass, my parents would order pizza from our favorite pizza joint and we’d get to drink RC cola and Christmas music was always playing in the background. My dad always videotaped Christmas Eve. It was the one night of the year where we felt “normal”.

After all of the cutting up and laughing, we’d go to mass and try to behave. It was always the most fun because not only were we completely sugared up on Christmas sweets and RC cola we were completely exhausted slaphappy. I remember thinking how beautiful and ethereal the church always was on Christmas Eve. I was there every Sunday but somehow on that night, it was like God and the angels themselves were in the building or maybe it was a sugar-induced hallucination?

After all of that 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 the 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.

So, every year of my childhood and adolescence, I looked forward to Christmas Eve because, for us, it was the best night of the year.

I fondly remember going with my mom to Sears a lot when I was a child. Whether it was for socks and underwear, a nail gun, a washer and dryer or a giant doll as big as I was, Sears was my parents go to store. I was the oldest of 6 children so I often accompanied my mom on her shopping trips for the younger kids. It had it’s benefits, I usually picked out my own Christmas gift (the big one anyways); a comforter set, a leather bomber jacket or a favorite toy.

My husband and I go to Sears, not to buy our girls’ Christmas presents (wink*wink) because we all know those come from Santa but for the every day essentials. We’ve gotten most of our appliances, tools and workout equipment there because that’s what our parents always did. In that way, Sears is part of our family’s tradition.


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