Mexican Christmas decorations reflect the colorful history of a rich culture. They are a wonderful way to honor a heritage and add a special flavor to the season. These decorations reflect the entire Mexican holiday season, beginning on December 3 with the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe and ending with the Day of Purification on February 2.
Types of Mexican Christmas Decorations
One of the most popular Mexican Christmas decorations is the nacimientos, or natvity scene. This representation of the birth of Christ shows Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in a manager.
While similar to other nativity scenes from around the world, the nacimientos has a special Mexican flavor. These scenes are more elaborate and may include the entire village of Bethelehem. The village may have street vendors, musicians, buildings, and the inn. Special characters appear in the nacimientos, such as a rooster to crow at the birth of Jesus and Lucifer to lure away the shepherds on their trek.
Another unique feature of the nacimientos is the life-size baby Jesus, who dwarfs the small Mary and Joseph figures. This large representation is used on the February 2 holiday of El Dia de Candlelaria, or Day of Purification. On this holiday, a party is the final celebration of the Christmas season.
No Mexican Christmas is complete without a nacimientos. This collection can become a family heirloom. New pieces might be added each year for a truly remarkable display.
Ornaments and Lights
Christmas ornament with a Mexican flair add a rustic beauty to any traditional tree. The most authentic ornaments are made of tin, straw, clay or other folk medium. These can represent standard Christmas icons, such as angels, stars or balls. They can also represent Mexican themes, such as decorated clay pots, cactus, or parrots.
Mexican Christmas decorations might also include tree lights in the shape of chili peppers or sombreros. These lights can also be used for mantel decorations or garlands.
Few people realize that the poinsettia, the most recognized flower of Christmas, is a native plant of Mexico and Guatemala. Its association with Christmas began in the 16th century where, according to legend, a poor young girl had no gift for the celebration of the birth of Christ. An angel guided the girl to pick weeds and place them in front of the church. These weeds bloomed into the vivid red flowers we know now as poinsettias. Today, they are a common symbol of the season.
The pinata originated in China, but became popular in Mexico as a religious instructional tool. It's a brightly-colored paper mache figure filled with candy and treats. During a celebration, the pinata is hung from a tree. Participants are blindfolded and given a stick to hit the pinata. When it breaks open, the contents spill out for all to grab and enjoy. During the Christmas season, the pinata can add a festive feel to the décor.
Decorations for the Table
The tree is decorated, the pinata hung and it's time to festoon the table. Mexican tradition uses earth tones for Christmas, as opposed to the American red and green. You can have the best of both worlds by using poinsettia centerpieces. For a table cover, use earth tone paper pieces, which are popular in Mexico, or straw placemats. Add candles in clay holders to light the table. Look for glazed dinnerware with a rustic feel.
Christmas is a delightful time in Mexico, full of history and celebration. Bring that feeling to your home by using Mexican Christmas decorations throughout the house.