Our town of Buitrago hosts a living nativity for four days in December. It’s a big deal and has going on for quite some time. And I’ve been looking forward to it for awhile. I believe around 2,000 – 2,500 people show up for it each night it’s put on. We watched the streets get blocked off and swarms of people head into the city center all day. I followed the directions on when to show up and where we would be going. What I failed to remember is that things happen here…..when they happen. So, nearly two hours after we arrived the program finally began. These two hours mostly consisted of us standing in line, eating loaves of bread hastily purchased, pleading with the kids to not crawl in the street and then waiting some more in a crowded mass until the program began. Jeff, Amelia & Clara left before it even started. Violet and I stuck it out. We had left at 6:15pm and returned home at 9:45pm (it’s a 5 minute walk away). Although at one point, I wondered if I had been standing with my knee’s locked and what exactly would happen should I pass out in a crowd of 2,000. I know what to expect now and we’ll try again tomorrow night but skip the early arrival and the welcoming portion of the program. That part was in Spanish anyways and it was so crowded there was nothing we could actually see. But the living nativity scenes were pretty amazing. There are 39 scenes winding through the castle and castle walls ending with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the three wise men. I imagined it more of a “working” farm sort of thing where the actors, acted out the scenes they were in. Instead they sat silent and completely still while this crowd of 2,000 walked past and took pictures. The actors are people from our village and surrounding villages. The girls recognized several of their classmates and one of Violet’s sat silent and unflinching as Violet loudly whispered her name and waved to her. Check out the complete set of pictures here.
Being away from home, away from friends and family, away from traditions can derail your holiday spirits. And while it seems the girls are wholeheartedly embracing the idea of a simple, family Christmas they are listing all the dolls, fairies and toys they would also like. We spent last weekend listening to non-stop Christmas music, putting up purchased decorations, making decorations and watching Christmas movies together. The girls have made foam ball snowmen and lots of paper snowflakes. I decorated stockings with glitter glue. We have big pine cones beckoning us to pour glitter on them and tie them with ribbons. I bought a little artificial Christmas tree (stealing one from the forest was seeming like an increasingly bad idea). At home, I like my Christmas tree to look nice. Or maybe I should say I like it to look the way I want it to look. Organized, color-themed, symmetrical, non-commercial. I have red and silver bulbs with with white and red lights. I have homemade ornaments and store-bought ornaments and but for one Maxine figurine I have no tinkerbells, barbies, pooh bears, or other cartoon characters on my tree. But I decided here to buy non-red ornaments, colored lights and to let the kids completely decorate it on their own.
It also snowed a bit. The kids thought it was amazing! They went out and ran in the snowflakes, we took a hike in the woods. It certainly wasn’t going to stick. It didn’t even look like snow as it hit the pavement or the grass. Either way though, the kids loved it!
It’s getting about that time. I keep seeing the facebook posts for black Friday ad’s and the calendar says it’s Thanksgiving next week. Which is not a holiday celebrated here in Spain. We won’t be having a Turkey. But we have already watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on YouTube. Jeff and the kids have school on Thursday although they have Friday off for some other holiday. I think our menu will be green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes with ham and maybe squash. We talked about a roast but maybe we’ll save that for Christmas. Or maybe we need to look up some more traditional Spanish meals.
We’ve talked to the kids about Christmas, in particularly about Christmas presents. We told them, of course, Santa will bring a present but that we will not be buying toys and stuff. And we should not expect packages from grandma’s either. We needed to think of things such as experiences, special treats, gift card downloads for eBooks, and things we can do together as a family. Amelia and Violet really seemed to embrace the idea. Until, they found a toys r us catalog in the coffee shop yesterday and fights ensued over who could circle which toys and how many times one toy could be circled. Before this catalog, Amelia has already made her Christmas list. It’s very sweet.
Amelia’s Christmas List:
– It’s ok if this one is very late when we are back in amica. a pet that is not a fish.
– a fary that flys
– a gift card to toys r us or target
– homemade stuffy
– a movie with violet
– cookies with hot choclate
– dady to help me make critals [crystals]
– a gient story
– a white critmas
– horse back riding
– a cristmas shirt
– a pair of red and green pants and maching mittens
– a friend that speeks inglish
– s’mint color blue or red
– a run with mommy