Guest Post by Suzan Haskins, International Living
Ah, Christmas in Mexico. There’s nothing better.
Before Dan and I moved from the States, back when our son was a teenager, we always went on holiday for Christmas…one year to Belize, another year on a cruise to the Bahamas. But more often than not, we went to Mexico.
We have fond memories of Christmas Eve dinners at El Pescador, in my opinion the best seafood restaurant in the “old town” of Cancun (if there is such a thing in such a new city). One year our friend bought all the red roses being sold by a pretty little dark-eyed beauty, and he gave one to each woman in the restaurant, including, of course, our little salesgirl. After dinner, we always peeked in on Christmas Eve service through the open doors and windows of Iglesia Cristo de Rey.
And we laugh at memories of the year my husband gave an impromptu performance with a roving mariachi troupe during Christmas Eve dinner in Playa del Carmen.
This year, though, we’re happily staying home. Sometimes I have to pinch myself…because now we live in Mexico. In Merida, where we live, there won’t be a shortage of things to do during the holidays. Christmas music in the parks, Christmas trovas (typical Yucatecan romantic music) in concert halls, and a special Christmas children’s choir in one the oldest cathedral in the Americas across from on the city’s huge main plaza.
The plaza is decked out for the holidays, of course, as are most city parks, streets, and intersections. A nighttime drive down the Paseo de Montejo is spectacularly sparkly, with millions of twinkling yellow lights wrapped around the palm trees that line this gorgeous mansion-flanked boulevard, known as Merida’s Champs d’Elysee.
Our son (now in his 30s) and his girlfriend are here in Merida for Christmas. We’ve spent some time sightseeing in this beautiful city we now call home. (No matter how long you live here there is always something new to discover.)
We were with friends on Christmas Eve, dining on traditional holiday fare, both ours and Yucatecan. Tonight we’ll dine with them under the stars …the weather couldn’t be lovelier than at this time of year.
In two days, we’ll pile in the car for the three-hour drive to the Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. We’re treating ourselves to a four-night stay at a luxurious beach spa resort. (You won’t believe how little this is costing us…but that’s a report for another day.)
New Year’s Eve will find us at Lake Bacalar, near the Mexican border with Belize. Dan and a friend plan to grab their guitars and serenade us long into 2010. As is tradition in Mexico, we’ll all be wearing red underwear for good luck. To hedge our bets, at the stroke of midnight we’ll eat 12 grapes for good luck in each of the coming months of the new year.
But seriously, I feel lucky already…
Hi, Suzan. Thanks for bringing Mexico at Christmastime to life for all of us! I feel very lucky as well, reading your post. Memories of mariachis playing, red roses at restaurants and time standing still so that people can connect with each other and the season and celebrate together. Mexico always reminds me of what’s truly important in life. Happy new year!
And after Christmas, get yourself over to Ixtapan Spa Hotel and Golf Resort to lose a few pounds in an affordable and delightful way!!
Brandi N. Grays
I actually spent Christmas in Mexico this year as well. I live in Cancun and found my Mexican Christmas very special. There were so many lights and one square in particular (I dont know the name) was decked out like a postcard.
I have never lived anywhere where the cost of living was so low and I have heard that Cancun is on the hight side. We were able to give our kids a great Christmas, spend time with new friends, and explore without breaking our budget.
I hope I am here for a long time.
France has to be my greatest vacation destination. Each time I visit I discover new things that I enjoy.