“Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the casa, there was no sign of Christmas or even el Dia de Gracias…
We’re not trimming a tree, there’s no turkey to roast … Instead we’re doing some yoga and surfing the coast…
You get the idea.
In this land of perpetual summer, my brain can’t seem to recognize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Usually by now, the stores at home are bursting with Christmas decor and the holiday sales pitches are at high volume. At the very least I’d be wearing long sleeves once in a while – some cue that the holidays are approaching.
Not so much here in the jungle.
At Super La Paloma, there is a small, plastic Christmas tree whose branches are heavy with boxes of toothpaste. It’s some kind of Colgate display, and I guess healthy teeth are a great gift if you really think about it.
At Super Nosara though, there is a handmade poster announcing, “Everything for Christmas, on the second floor!”
And apparently, all you need for Christmas can be contained to the baubles on these two end caps and a couple of artificial trees.
At home, Christmas is IN YOUR FACE. From an eggnog latte, to the garland wrapped around anything that’ll stand still long enough, you couldn’t ignore the approaching holiday if you tried.
But here, Christmas comes quietly. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At home all that Christmas mania is coupled with Christmas stress – so much to do, so much to buy. But here, you could blink and miss the signs of Christmas coming.
I do admit to longing for some of the frenzied anticipation of my favorite holiday season though. For me it always kicks off with Thanksgiving. You can import a turkey here, but seeing as how I have no oven, that didn’t seem practical. We’re having friends over to the house tomorrow and I’m making arroz con pollo. No sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows on top, but I won’t be any less thankful for family and friends and life. I don’t need cranberry sauce for that.
I will certainly miss being with extended family tomorrow, but it helps to know we’ll see them in just a few weeks. Meanwhile, Friday we’re taking off toward the interior of the country to spend the weekend with a volcano. No Black Friday sales here, just blue rivers and thermal hot springs. I can’t wait.
It will be strange not to put up our own Christmas tree this year. Our stockings and wreaths are tucked away in our attic where they’ll stay until next year. I do love decorating for Christmas, and was feeling a little sad not to do so this year. So when I spied a small reindeer made of hay and fishing line with googly eyes and a Christmas bow in one of the local shops, I found myself drawn into their doors.
Soon I was heading back up our gravel road with that little reindeer in the back of the car, his googly eyes rocking all around with the potholes and bumps. I’m keeping him hidden for now, but on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Camille will wake up to find him in her room.
She deserves to enjoy just a little holiday flair in the jungle, and I do too. We’ll put on some Christmas tunes, but we’ll also remind ourselves that the holiday isn’t just about gingerbread and an Elf on the Shelf. It’s about being together, loving God and loving each other – and that we can do from anywhere, and without fanfare.