Saturday, December 4, 2010

My fathers Christmas

My Christmas has always been unsual in a country where there are very strong traditions from Spain brought by the missionaries.

For example we have posadas (9 days of feasts before Christmas where we sing in respresentation of St.Joseph asking with Mary for a place to stay). An amazing tradition. We have piñatas in the Posadas and we always, always even in the most humble houses we have Christmas mangers. Beautiful ones.

Its a very social Christmas, with many reunions, bright lights and very, very large families.

We eat Cod for Christmas or Turkey and some candies from Spain and sing villancicos (Christmas songs from Spain)

Yet this is not my Christmas in my heart. My Christmas is my father´s. A very German Christmas. With only my closest familiy with a lot of silence

My father is German. Born there from a German father and a Mexican/German mother in the middle of Germany right at the beginning of WWII.

My grandma had gone to Germany to study and work with some of her siblings and fell in love and soon after got married without permission.

She came back to Mexico after the 2nd WW with 5 children born there and three more would follow. Since she was Mexican Mexico has a law that protects first and foremost the children born from Mexican women so they were accepted in the country as refugees.

My father is quite reserved, a convert, that learned Spanish when he was 8. Right now he can either pass for a Mexican or a German, he is one of the few siblings that speaks German and Spanish both fluently. And when when he tries to speak English he does it with a very, very German accent which usually throws people off since they only hear him speak Spanish to us.

He lived in a country at war and came to Mexico as a refugee and touching up on the subject of his childhood can be touchy sometimes. Some of the few things he has told me is he remembers fondly the American soldiers, which took over his birth city after the surrender of Germany, with whom he exchanged the butts from smoked cigarrets and the tabacco from them in exchange for American chocolates. I cry as I write this.

My father is quiet, very reserved about his childhood. Yet his childhood is all over our lives with the best from it.

His presence is all over Christmas. A very strong presence that I would love to transmit to my own children.

A quiet presence where candles, classical music, homemade food and family are what Christmas traditions are all about.

My Christmas traditions are mainly German with some Mexican (the mangers and cod ) and American (fruitcake!!!!) thrown in there. Long story short my mom grew very close to the US, my grandpa was even born there, but never requested the nationality. Yet my mom with her Mexican and American side gave way to my Father during Christmas making our Christmas much his.

So my Christmas is very different from the one of my country. And I am so very very grateful that my mom promoted that we celebrate in the manner of my father and not her own.

So we celebrate Advent each Sunday. The part I love most about the whole Christmas season.

We get together before it darkens and sit by the Advent wreath and eat and enjoy each other companies. We listen to traditional German music and anjoy a quiet time among the busy season as a family. Just being.

We bake cookies all November. Lebkuchen, Spice cookies and buy Stollen (the German cake for Christmas) that respresents the sleeping Child. We eat Glühwein (warm wine with spices) and eat the cookies that we baked in November.

We watch the candles light the darkness and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and Advent.

So in this busy season of year end budgets, crazy Christmas shopping, parties and bright lights....

My heart only wishes for my Father´s Christmas. A quiet light in the middle of the darkness in silence.

And I wish this for my children so very much.


  1. So neat about the different traditions, thanks for sharing! Praying for you!

  2. I loved reading this. What special memories you have. My dad lived in Germany when he was in the Air Force so he loves anything and everything to do with Germany. Hugs and I will pray for your Christmas wish.

  3. At this moment, my eyes are filling with tears and I, too, am wishing for your father's Christmas. Thank you for allowing us to feel as if we were there. Blessed Advent!

  4. You are a fascinating and amazing lady! Your life and your family are so beautiful. Thank you!!

  5. What a beautiful tradition Eloisa. I am so hurried during this season, I LONG for a quiet simple ways to celebrate this holy season of waiting and I might have to steal your German tradition!!!!

    I love the tradition of Las Posadas...I read a book to my students every year by my favorite author Tomie de Paola called "Las Posadas" and we make a manger scene.

  6. Beautiful, beautiful post.

    I am part German too and although my family didn't so much celebrate this side - we tended towards celebrating at least in the food category my Norwegian side, there is something that goes to the core of my being in my need for silence and stillness and beauty, the soft, yet hard beauty of a crisp winter day where the countryside is forceably silenced with a blanket of white snow. (We received such a blanket this weekend and it is so breathtaking). I think this comes from the German / Scandinavian in me and I love it. Thank you for this beautiful reflection and Frohliche Weihnachten!

  7. This gave me goose bumps!! SO beautiful. Your children will be so blessed to share these special traditions with you.