This year, instead of going to New Mexico as I usually do, I’ll be heading to my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Northern California for Christmas.
I’m really happy that our entire family will be together for Christmas, because I know there won’t be many more years when that will be possible. But selfishly, I’ll be missing some of the little New Mexican traditions that our family has.
A Cook-style New Mexican Christmas means:
- Spending the three days before Christmas Eve skiing in Purgatory, CO as a family. While there, we enjoy Mom’s home cookin’, hot tubbin’, and lots of slope side family bonding.
- Spending the afternoon of Christmas Eve making luminarias with my siblings. (Translation: this is a New Mexican tradition where you put candles in paper sacks to light the way for the Christ Child.) We then set them up in front of the house, and Dad gets out his blow torch to light them, inevitably causing a few mini-bonfires in the process. Then, there are always the unspoken disputes with the neighbors about whether or not you should have your Christmas lights on when the luminarias are lit. It never fails if we leave our Christmas lights on when we leave for church, one of the neighbors comes over and unplugs them for us.
- Going to church at Central United Methodist Church, where my parents were married, all of us kids were baptised, and where all of us grew up.
- Eating New Mexican food on Christmas Eve at Sadie’s with my family, our family friends Jack and Marilyn, and Amber and her husband. It is family tradition to get a little bit loopy on their potent Margaritas.
- Childhood friends stopping by, just like old times.
Now don’t get me wrong — there are some definite positives to this year’s California Christmas. In addition to the fact that all the Cooks will be together, I’m sure there will be plenty of margaritas (made by Greg, who makes a very potent marg) and New Mexican food (courtesy of my sister-in-law, Jane, a great New Mexican chef). My brother, Greg, and I have planned to do a bit of mountain biking. I won’t have to deal with airports for the first time in like five years (now that deserves one loud HALLELUJAH). Plus, I’ll be able to drive over to JB’s parents’ house in the Bay Area the day after Christmas, which is exciting.
As Mom says, every holiday you spend away from home makes the ones you do actually spend at home all the more special. Well put, Mom.