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Happy Holidays!


Hola mi gente and welcome back to Esquina Latina! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as I did. As usual, we overate and had a ridiculous amount of leftovers, but had so many laughs. This year, we played Cards Against Humanity with the familia. I don’t know if you’ve ever played that game, but it’s inappropriate in so many ways, and my mother insisted on playing with us! Aye Dios Mio! It was so wrong, but felt so right at the same time and absolutely made our day! Now it’s time to buckle up and head into the Christmas season, the most “magical time of the year”…that’s what the song says anyway! Can we please just ease our way into Christmas? I am far from a Scrooge, but not one of those people singing Christmas Carols the day after Halloween nor do I have my tree up before Thanksgiving. What is the big rush people? Can we do one thing at a time? I do however have to admit; the Christmas season does have a nice “buzz” outside of all the mayhem (way, way outside sometimes) that leads up to the “big day.” For most people, all the shopping, wrapping, standing in lines at the mall, sitting in traffic, running around, etc. is all for Christmas morning and that day’s festivities. For us, it’s a bit more extended and not because we take longer to do things or use any excuse to keep the party going, but because we start the celebrating on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and keep going until January 6, when we celebrate Three Kings Day. So, the Christmas tree cannot come down until after that.

Preparing for Noche Buena is not much different from how we prepare for Thanksgiving. My mother still has to call with her daily reminders about the FREE item (HAM instead of turkey for Christmas) at the grocery store, and the menus are very similar, minus the turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. OK, minus all things “Thanksgiving,” except the Pernil, Arroz con Gandules, and flan. We can’t do without those at ANY Holiday! We do have to add empanadas to the menu as our main appetizer. My mother will argue that she makes the best empanadas, but mine are actually better, so I always volunteer to make them before she does! We swap out the string bean casserole we had on Thanksgiving for Yuca (Cassava) and fried plantains. I can’t forget to mention the Coquito! This is the Puerto Rican version of Eggnog and is just as sinful, but way stronger! If the recipe calls for a cup of rum, just double that. Sign me up, please!

This year, my sister signed up to host Christmas Eve…thank God! I get an extra day to do some gift wrapping and last-minute shopping to find a birthday gift for my mother. Yes, her birthday falls on Christmas Day, just to add a little more pressure to the season. So, Christmas Eve will be a repeat of Thanksgiving; you know the noise level, the clanking of the dominoes in the background, the women in the kitchen fighting over the Adobo. The only differences are the Christmas music playing instead of Salsa, and the kids are all begging to open their gifts. We do let them open one present on Noche Buena…our personal tradition, but mainly for our sanity (to stop the nagging). More Coquito, please!

Rinse and repeat for Christmas Day/Mom’s birthday celebration. My turn to host, so I will have to ponytail up and get to work! The craziness starts early because the kids can’t wait to open their gifts so my familia will be over before my café con leche even kicks in. I hope I remember to order and pick up a birthday cake for my mother or I’ll be in trouble! Christmas Day is typically less chaotic than Noche Buena, just because we stay up playing dominoes, drinking Coquito (oh my head) and dancing as usual. So, we will eat early and then sing “Happy Birthday” to my mother and give her birthday gifts. For the record, her birthday gifts CANNOT be wrapped in Christmas paper. That rule has applied forever! Can you blame her? I mean, she didn’t ask to be born on the same day as Jesus.

I am way behind on my shopping this year but did order the gifts and stocking stuffers for my nieces. This year it’s all about the hair and nails, so they are both getting a Gold Pro Curling Iron. I have one and I absolutely love it! For their stockings, we have some fun nail polish colors by Essie. At least I hope they think the colors I picked are fun. They’re 15, so I’m sure you know how difficult that can be. The top five picks from Esquina Latina that you can find on are Biolage SmoothProof Shampoo and Conditioner, Thermasmooth Smooth Guard Smoothing Serum, Total Results So Long Damage Break Fix Leave-in Conditioner, and the GoldPro Flat Iron.

I do hope that you were all “nice” and Santa Claus is good to you this year. I was just a little “naughty” and don’t think Santa noticed. Feliz Navidad to you and your families!

Hasta la proxima!

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