Cuban Christmas Math - 12 days plus 3 Kings?

It is the day after Thanksgiving.

I know there is a frenzy of activity in many homes already decorating for Christmas.   Ours is not one of those.

Growing up Cuban means we celebrate Christmas Eve - Noche Buena.  In our home, we always waited to put up our tree until December 24th. That was always part of the celebration. 

We would go out as a family on December 23rd to go pick out a tree.  There was really not much "picking" going on.  The tree lot owners practically PAID us to take the dried out tree off their hands (but that's not important right now). We always chose the tallest one, but my mom just wanted the branches to be far apart - she always liked that whole tinsel and icicle thing.

Noche Buena was always so magical! I maintain that part of the magic derived from decorating THAT day. We don't do all of that now, but I still wait until about a week before Christmas to put up my tree. We celebrate the entire month of December practically and we do start our preparations - there is alot to do! Check out my Christmas Photo Journal from last year over there on the left - we do so much stuff!!  Just not the tree!

We always celebrated the twelve days of Christmas starting from December 25th until January 5th, the Feast of the Epiphany or Dia de Los Reyes (translates to the "Day of the Kings" in reference to the 3 Kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem).  That was the night the 3 Kings would come and bring gifts for us.  I know this all sounds odd to most people here, but the tradition continues in many Latino countries. Here in the U.S. we ended up doing both for a while. We got gifts on December 25th from Santa Claus and gifts from the 3 Kings on January 6th. That didn't last too long here. One fat guy in a red suit? Or 3 Kings, with 3 camels! They could carry so many more gifts -  you do the math.  It was probably too exhausting for my parents.

All that to say this: I still can't get used to decorating for Christmas sooo early!  I can't do it.

My friend, Pam, mocks me about all this. They already have (multiple!) trees decorated, and gifts bought and wrapped.  I think that's awesome.... I just can't do it.

So the other day we received a huge box from her and Gene. In it were Christmas gifts for my entire family (yes, we will wait until Christmas day to open!) and this sweet little Charlie Brown tree.Cbtree_1

I think it is just adorable!

I just love all it represents.

We always watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" each year. I still get emotional the moment Linus stands on the bare stage and recites from the 2nd chapter of the book of Luke in the Bible and tells the story of the real meaning of Christmas - about the birth of Jesus.

But this tree right here represents my dear friend's love and care for us and her respect for my Cuban tradition.

She knows I won't be putting up a tree anytime soon. Her exact words were, "I know you are usually a little late on the tree." (understatement!)

But we needed a place to put all the gifts they sent us!

In spite of myself I am totally enjoying this early touch of Christmas cheer.

Thanks, Pam & Gene. For your incredible thoughtfulness.

You are superior.