The True Spirit of Christmas Shines Through in La Paz, Baja Sur



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By Irene Phillips

Here in Mexico, the December festival season begins with the celebration of the Patrona de Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 and continues through Christmas and on to All King’s Day on January 6. Mexican fiestas are steeped in tradition with food, music and family being the central theme.

On the Baja, the poinsettias and the live, pine Christmas trees are popping up in stores everywhere. Toys and specialty items load the aisles of the supermarkets. All of this is in preparation of the coming fiestas. There is something for everyone…well at least those who can afford those luxuries.

In our little village of El Centenario, many of us spend Christmas here without our immediate families. A group of us were looking for a way to spend Christmas together with our neighbors and to help some of the local families who could use a little extra something.

What better way to do that than to have a fiesta.

Two years ago, we started Amigos de Navidad. With the generous donations of our friends, family and neighbors, we served Christmas dinner to over 240 people the first year. And more than 250 in the second year. That represents more than 40 families and most of those people were children.

In addition to the meal, parents went home with a gift for each of their children to open on All King’s Day and a food hamper with every day staples they could use to feed their family.

This is our third year and even though some of the families we helped in the past are now doing better financially, there are always people who need a little help. We look to invite people with the greatest need so our search expands farther into the rural areas of the village where the need is greater.

This year, on the 23rd of December, we are hoping to serve three-dinner seating’s followed by piñatas for the kids. The parents will get a bag stuffed with toys for their kids. And our goal is to double the size of the food hamper we supply, so the full feeling of Christmas lasts into the New Year.

We want to thank Victor Martinez de Escobar who donated the use of his restaurant, Mesquite Verde in El Centenario, for our event. Also a big thank-you to Melanie Torres, Director of DECIDE AC, for her help with community liaison and inviting the families.

If you would like to support this local cause, here are a few ways you can help.

 

  • Go to our website where you can easily and securely donate using a credit card through PayPal. It is www.amigosdenavidad.causevox.com. Or if you are here in La Paz for the holidays, let us know and we can pick up your donation in person.
  • Help spread the word about our event by going to our Amigosdenavidad Facebook page, Like and Share it. Check there often for updates on our progress and pictures of the event.
  • Or you could volunteer to help us with setup, shopping, cooking and serving for the event. Volunteer positions that are needed are posted on our Facebook page.

Whatever your Christmas tradition may be, giving to those less fortunate may fill your heart with the true spirit of Christmas.

Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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