This week as all the Christmas festivities came rolling in, I started feeling not all that full of Christmas joy. This is my first Christmas away from my family. BUT I realized I could focus on feeling homesick and sad that I am away from my family (who I am going to visit in a little less than a month!), OR I could enjoy this incredible experience right in front of me….Something that brings me so much happiness is experiencing other cultures and right now I have the PERFECT opportunity to experience Christmas traditions in a new country. So this week, fully of Christmas cheer, I present…
5 Chilean Christmas Traditions that Fill Me with Happiness
1. “Caravana de Viejito Pascuero”
I saw this many times throughout the month of December and it made me feel like a little kid full of Christmas magic each time I saw it! Basically, businesses or groups of friends get together, one person dresses up as santa, they drive to different houses to deliver presents to kids, they drive around in one big truck decorated as Santa’s sleigh followed by decorated cars and play Christmas music, honk their horns and throw candy to everyone! So it is kind of like a mini parade, and you can hear it coming miles away 😉
Caravana de vejito pascuro—- roughly translated to “Santa’s parade”
3. Wrapping presents downtown
Chileans NEVER miss an opportunity to take advantage of a situation. (most times for the better!) At the beginning of December I noticed a few people had set up little tables in the downtown shopping area with wrapping paper. You can bring your gifts to them when you walk out of the store and they will wrap it for you, for a little donation. By the second or third week in December the downtown was FULL of these little tables. (and I mean FULL, tables lined up all down the street). What made me so happy about this was that most of the time it was friends wrapping presents together, laughing, and they would have little signs that said “Wrapped with Love”
4. Waiting for midnight
Just like birthday parties here, in Chile everyone gets together with their families and waits until midnight to officially begin celebrating Christmas! We went to Luka’s grandma’s house and had little snacks, cake and drinks. At midnight we all sat around the tree and opened our Christmas presents.
5. Going out with friends
After opening presents and celebrating with families a lot of people my age then meet up with friends to have drinks and celebrate together. We went with a few of our friends to a lookout that has a beautiful view of the whole city lit up at night. We had a few drinks, a few laughs, and celebrated a beautiful Christmas together. Here friends are basically considered family, everyone calls their friends parents”Tia or Tio” (which means aunt or uncle). and by continuing the Christmas celebration with friends, to me it showed how close Chileans are to each other.
So, this year, whether you were surrounded by family and old traditions, or were alone watching movies and eating brownies, or experiencing new traditions, I hope that your holidays were filled with little things that bring you happiness! 🙂 Feel free to share any of the ways you were filled with happiness this Christmas!
ALSO, next week I will be introducing a special new feature on the blog! Stay tuned 🙂