This year will be my eight year celebrating Christmas in Costa Rica. I have to be 100% honest with you, I am so totally happy that I am here and not back in the Big Apple or the US. Let me give you some of my top reasons, kind of like a David Letterman top 10 list, but a bit shorter. They may be warped, but they are still my reasons.
8) I am so happy I do not have to shovel snow and dig a trench out to the mailbox just to get Christmas cards. They are nice to receive and send but really what do you do with them after the Christmas season is over? If you happen to be like me you may just through them away and what a waste of good lumber.
7) Costa Ricans are generally happier at Christmas. I remember living in the states with all the bright lights and ads on TV and newsprint screaming at you need to buy this and buy that so you have a great Christmas. Hog wash, all this does is cause a lot of people undue stress in their lives. I am sure, if you have been here or have been reading about Costa Rica, the term “PURA VIDA” Pure Life comes up. Yes it has a lot of different connotations however you really get the feeling of what it means around the Christmas season.
6) Tamales!! Sure you can get them all year long and the types that are made here in Costa Ria are different than the Mexican variety. Tamales are a traditional Costa Rica treat for Christmas, made with care and love. Trust me it is not an easy process, usually the whole family gets involved which brings the family together to share good talk drinks and fun. I look forward to this time of year to indulge in some, with a cold beer and some” Lizano” salsa and hot sauce!! Yum, but I digress sorry.
5) The Beaches. Yep Christmas week, seems like most of the San Jose and the Central valley leave for the beaches of Guanacaste and Puntarenas. I love it, families having a great time at the beach enjoying the surf and sand, a pickup game of sand soccer for anyone to join, not like the crazy days of Jones beach in New York where I grew up, at least here I can still find a place to lay a blanket and not have the guy next to me practically sitting on me. Beside have you ever tried to go to the beach in December in New York, don’t think I could wear my swim suit, unless I was part of the Polar Club, NOT!!!
4) When it is Christmas time in Costa Rica the local folks like to decorate their houses with beautiful tropical flowers and some with traditional Christmas lights as well. A model of the nativity scene, called the Pasito or Portal, is the center of the display. What best of all NO ONE IS OFFENDED by the nativity scene. I get a bit crazy when I hear people from up north say, well that offends me and you should not have a nativity scene or a Manohar for Hanukkah in your yard. I guess they must be related to scrooge.
3) The true gratitude of people. I have to say I have been blessed in this life with a good job, great parents and the opportunity to make something for myself. However there are people that are not as fortunate as I am here in Costa Rica and I love giving back not just at Christmas time but all year long. This year there was a Christmas campaign like Toys for Tots, in the playa Hermosa area and I was more than happy to help out with lots toys for underprivileged boys and girls in the area. There is nothing better than seeing the smiling face of a small child getting a toy when they never had one. It really warms the heart and makes me grateful for what I have.
2) Parades, festivals, rodeo and topes. Guanacaste, being originally a farming and cattle producing area of Costa Rica and still is, horses play an important part of people lives. Hence the rodeos and topes, a tope is a horse parade like you never seen before. If you have never been to one you need to get on a plane and come down and experience it. Tons of people and vendors line the streets and it is a wild party atmosphere with live traditional bands all anticipating the arrival of the horse parade. Some topes are as large as 5000 riders with the rider all decked out in cowboy ware and the horse groomed to perfection, it is a blast!
1) My number one reason for loving Christmas time in Costa Rica is being able to freely say “ FELIZ NAVIDAD” — “ MERRY CHRISTMAS” to anybody and 99% of the time you are greeted back with the same salutation!! In eight years I have had only one “A*****e” say to me and reprimanded me that I offended him with my greeting. So I ended up giving him whats called a “New York Bronx Cheer” , can’t tell you what it really is but you may get the idea. I am so sick and tired of all the political correctness of North America that at least I have the freedom here to say almost whatever I want without the fear of some pansy crying foul play.
Christmas in Costa Rica is a wonderful time of year. Happy people great weather as the rains on the Pacific side of the country is at an end and just a great overall feeling of joy and happiness. Join me won’t you?
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