Christmas in the Southwest is different

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readDec 24, 2023

I like celebrating Christmas in the southwest because it’s not the kind you see on TV and in the movies. No one is ever snowed in and there is no such thing as clearing the driveway. Most of us can’t ever imagine experiencing a white Christmas. That’s fine with me.

In the southwest, we have evening skies with all the colors of your favorite tree ornaments. You can’t tell Christmas is coming from the weather, but you can feel it because the homes are a little cozier, a little fuller.

Sometimes, I feel like the rest of the country doesn’t get us. No famous movie Christmas scene ever takes place in the beauty of the desert. It’s always fireplaces and busy street scenes. Cars honking as they race past you. Even in the romance scenes where happy couples are strolling across neighborhood streets, people in the background can be seen working at all times of the day and night. It’s all good, but it’s not me.

People like to wear reindeer ears, not just because they fit the season, but they also fit our character. We like deer. They are majestic to see all year long. People wear ugly Christmas sweaters because their grandma made them, not because they need to stay warm.

In the southwest, we are a product of our environment. We are shaped by what the earth provides us. Tamales and champurrado. Menudos and posoles. Cafecito with everything. Christmas cookies, too. We call them biscochitos.

Christmas is a tradition that goes back thousands of years, and that’s we like in the southwest. We like to honor our past. Our ancestors built foundations that stand to this day. We celebrate the birth of our King in adobe homes. We sing carols and get together to learn how our native forefathers and foremothers celebrated.

Moms tell us how their moms prepared tamales for days and weeks. How their recipes have been mostly unchanged since time immemorial. At least that’s how they remember it. People recite prayers that have been bookmarked in scriptures for generations. Sometimes new traditions start too.

In the southwest, we love to be outside most of the day. The sun is our healer…

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Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.