Feliz Navidad from Peru

I grew up in South Florida and as a result, most of my Christmas memories do not revolve around sitting by the fire or going sledding. It wasn’t until I was sixteen years old that I realized that 60º is in fact quite warm and not “freezing” as I would proclaim. It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I could no longer where flip-flops year round.

In Peru, Christmas occurs during summer. Unlike Florida which just happens to have a warmer winter, here Christmas is surrounded by summer vacation, beach houses, pool supplies lining the store aisles and much warmers days.

For most Peruvians “Christmas” occurs on the evening on Christmas Eve, beginning with Mass around 6pm then followed by an evening with family. Alvaro’s family eats Christmas dinner at 10:30pm. A big meal complete with turkey, apple sauce, rice, fruit salad and limeade. At midnight we toasted to Jesus’s birthday while listening to the fireworks outside. We opened presents and by 1am, while Santa was still circling the globe, Christmas in Peru was over.

The next morning, I had my mini- American Christmas. I Skyped with my parents while opening my presents and then left for a Christmas morning brunch with Alvaro. We then spent most of the morning walking around several parks that are located right next to the beach. We passed the time watching children with their new toys, paragliders and eating ice cream.

To finish the night we watched Alvaro’s favorite Christmas movie: Jingle all the Way, while eating traditional Peruvian Christmas bread, panetón.