Christmas in México as an Expat is different from back in your home country.
This is my 7th Christmas abroad, and I love it.
Christmas holiday shopping is very similar to the US.
Except, big shopping malls are growing in México. My nearby city, Mérida, Yucatán, México has several malls and another very high-end one was just announced.
The mall here in México reminds me of the 1980s in the US. It is the hub of everything. My favorite mall has an ice skating rink, movie theater, some good restaurants besides the standard food court, 80s style arcade, and all the shopping you would ever need. Plus, there are many places for coffee breaks because the mall is huge and air-conditioned. It even has a big fitness center where all the cool kids go to sweat in view of the rest of the mall.
The mall is the place to go to get everything you require and want to do.
Some other malls even have grocery stores as an anchor store.
And Sears is growing in México, my relatives in the US thought they went out of business. I bought my stove/oven at a local Sears.
And because malls are so popular, they have enormous traffic issues in the parking lot and all the streets around it getting in and out. I stopped holiday shopping a week before Christmas, and it wasn’t soon enough, took forever to get home.
Of course, Santa is at the mall and every age gets their picture taken with him. I saw way more adults sit on Santa’s lap than kids.
Christmas Eve is the big day for Mexican families. People will come from wherever to spend Christmas Eve together. This is the day that presents are exchanged. Christmas day itself is just for hanging out with family and friends and playing with your new things.
Mexico is a very religious country, and the Christmas period is taken very seriously. Everything shuts down except emergency services. Even Chinese restaurants. If you’re in a very touristy area you’ll have some dining options, but in my village on the coast, everything including the Chinese food delivery local guy is shutdown. I have to make my own.
Christmas Season In México Is Longer
The Christmas season in Mexico is a lengthy and joyous occasion, often starting right after the Day of the Dead at the beginning of November. This is because the traditional North American holiday, Thanksgiving, is not celebrated in Mexico. Mexicans instead focus on their own holidays and festivities, such as the Day of the Dead and Las Posadas. This gives Mexicans a longer and more vibrant Christmas season, in which they can celebrate the holidays and traditions of their culture.
I don’t really miss Thanksgiving because Christmas here is just longer.
The mall is majorly decorated and light up. The roundabouts in the city are also decorated and light up. Christmas trees are everywhere.
México is known for its vibrant Christmas celebrations, even though snow is a rarity in the country. Almost every household in México has a Christmas tree in the living room, usually decorated with colorful lights and traditional Mexican decorations. It’s a common sight to see huge Christmas trees in the lobbies of malls and hotels across the country.
Mexican Christmas Foods
Food is of course an essential part of any Mexican Christmas celebration. Mexican cuisine is full of flavor and color, and it is a perfect addition to Christmas festivities. Traditional dishes like tamales, pozole, buñuelos, and bacalao are often served. Desserts are also a special part of the festivities and include the sweet, fried dough of buñuelos, a hot drink of champurrado, and the popular fruit-filled empanadas. In addition to traditional dishes, many families add their own special touches to the celebration by cooking dishes that are unique to their families.
Expat Family Holiday Tips
Living in a warm country like Mexico has its advantages in that lots of family and friends would like to visit during the snowy months.
But that is not always the case.
So, if your family isn’t coming to visit, you can do long FaceTime calls.
I have several scheduled calls where my family open presents while we all on video. Almost like being there without the freezing weather and snow.
We also do watch parties where we watch the same movie or TV show. We are going to watch some new Netflix movies together over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Feliz Navidad From México
I enjoy the holidays in Mexico more because the season is longer and there is no snow. It cools off a little, but I’m still wearing shorts around the house and only wear pants when it’s cool in the big city of Merida.
Happy holidays from México. Thank you for reading.
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