Christmas in Colombia

Typical nativity scene with a village; crèche is in upper left of photo; most of the sheep have real wool on them

I’m not sure what a traditional Christmas is in Colombia. Certainly the lights in the parks (especially Medellin) and decorations on some houses and lots of nativity scenes in public spaces and homes.

Nativity scenes aren’t just a crèche with the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph. They were almost always very elaborate, even having sheep skin on the small plastic sheep in the scenes. The nativity scene in the church in Jardin is about 50’ long…I couldn’t even get the entire scene in a photo in panorama mode! Scenes show an entire village with houses, animals, sometimes people, and of course the Wise Men and the crèche scene.

The family we are living with for 12 days is probably lower middle class. The almost 3 year old boy is really intelligent and well mannered. They have a small artificial tree with decorations and lights and lights around the door and window outside but no gifts under it.

While Santa Claus is discussed in passing, there was no attempt that I could see/understand that he would bring gifts. The little boy fell asleep earlier than usual and slept through the firecrackers, drums, etc. in the street.

This morning he received a gift or two, no wrapping paper. We gave him a set of 6 small plastic construction trucks (cost less than $4 total) which he seemed to enjoy. He also received a remote controlled car and a scooter and a plastic truck. Again, no wrapping paper.

There were people in and out all day which is not much different from usual but maybe a few more people than usual. The family left a couple of times for an hour or so. I had understood someone was barbecuing a pig but I never saw any evidence of it and they ate a modest meal here.

We also gave the parents a small box of local chocolate and $100,000 pesos (about $33) to help towards a new pair of glasses for the mom (her frames are broken and the lenses seem to be delaminating or something odd so she gets headaches wearing them).

Dan and I don’t normally exchange gifts so we didn’t this year. We did go for a walk for about an hour through an area with coffee, plantain, and bananas and amazingly ended up at a place where we knew that had a homemade cable car between the town and the mountain. l will be doing a blog on that soon.

Mostly catching up on blogging. Internet is just slow enough that uploading images is an ordeal and very slow but I am making progress, am now writing and about to post early December!

All in all, it was a nice quiet day. I was surprised that many stores and restaurants were open, something about a “store day” and everything will be closed on Wednesday. The mom also said that everything in Medellin is closed today and people come here to shop.

Since I had no expectations, it was a nice day. Much quieter than yours although the boy did get rowdy from time to time.

Mary’s tree in Marizales

The place we stayed with in Marizales after we left Jardin still had the house decorated with a 6-7′ artificial tree with ornaments and ribbons and other decorations on the walls. My guess is that they had a Christmas more like what you would see in the USA.

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