Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Christmas in July

I celebrated Christmas for the first time away from the family this year. Although I was slightly nervous that I would be severely homesick, one huge advantage to living in the Southern Hemisphere is that seasons are flipped so my Christmas landed smack dab in the middle of summer. I had a true Christmas in July.

Christmas is definitely done differently in Buenos Aires than in the states. Here, sparse decorations only serve as a small reminder that, "oh yeah...it is december." In the states, we love our holidays. We really, really love our holidays. Christmas, Halloween, and Independence day come and pass in Buenos Aires with little fanfare or attention. Conversely, in the states we literally bring out the band. Huge holiday celebrations are one thing that I do miss from the states...who doesn't want an excuse to dress up and get a little crazy a few days a year??

The first time i noted the distinct diffrence between "Christmases" was last year when I flew back to the states from Buenos Aires to celebrate "Las Fiestas." I flew into Columbus (because flights straight to my hometown are impossible) and my friend Sydney picked up at the airport. I went to the mall that night because my friend had a job caroling (yes...in costume and everything...anyone have pictures??) Walking through the mall in the heart of middle America, Christmas smacked me in the face like a frying pan. Songs, decorations, Santas, carolers, and shoppers all milling around with rosy cheeks and that little glint of holiday cheer and panic shining from their eyes: an explosion of holiday spirit.

This year in Buenos Aires, I dutifully decorated my apartment with a little 'fiesta tree' and incessantly singing snowman (thanks to a lovely care package from the mom). The decorations in Buenos are also a bit *ahem* different...so I embraced the tacky and decorated the tree with disco flashing lights and leis.

I spent Christmas and Christmas Eve on the beach with my friend Amber. We couldn't have had a more perfect weekend...minus my severely sunburned back (which was followed almost immediately by an uncomfortable 20 hour bus ride sitting on that burnt back to Bariloche....youch). Three days of eating, drinking, being merry, and lazing around on the beach seemed to be just what the doctor ordered to celebrate Navidad.