Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Blues.

So here we are, Christmas Eve, four months in to our new life, and about to celebrate our first Christmas in Costa Rica. Yes, I know we were here last year, but that was a holiday and it didn't really count!

I have spent the morning catching up on the news in the UK - gales, floods, train delays - things I don't really miss. Queues for the supermarkets - after all, they are only shut for 1 day, but you never know, people may run out of food!! It also seems that Manic Monday never happened and that the high street stores have been hit even harder this year. I guess the men will leave it 'til today to undertake their mad man-dash to the shops?

Well here in CR, or at least Coco and the surrounding towns, there is little evidence that Christmas is even taking place. There are no middle-of-the-night trips to the supermarkets for supplies; no long queues at the butchers (not that we have found a butchers), waiting to purchase the turkey; no mince pies; no late night Christmas shopping expeditions; no free parking on every Saturday in December to encourage the shoppers into town (it is free parking everyday here); very few houses and streets decorated with lights; no REAL Christmas trees (I think the firs may dehydrate here rather quickly); no 'BOGOF' deals on Christmas cards and wrapping paper (in fact I do not think I have seen any cards on sale here); no drink-driving adverts on TV, or January sales commercials ... 

The catalogue of Christmassey paraphernalia that is missing in Costa Rica goes on and on. Upon reflection though, all I have just listed as lacking is just a checklist of commercialism. No,  I haven't suddenly found religion, nor do I believe that consumerism is the greatest evil. But maybe we do all forget the real meaning of Christmas - spending time with our family and friends. 

This year then, we will have to play it by ear as we have no loved ones near us and very few of the Christmas trappings to indulge in. No ham, egg and chips for Christmas Eve dinner, but to neighbours for drinks instead; Father Christmas will not be left a mince pie, but as an alternative he will be offered a traditional Tamale to snack on; the stockings will not be bulging as in previous years (no equivalent of Hawkins Bazaar here!!); and Christmas Dinner will be taken at a restaurant instead of a wonderful home cooked feast. 

Wishing all our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sometimes you just have to improvise.

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