This is why Christmas in Latin America is better than in the UK

Let me introduce you to how to do Christmas properly


As someone who is half Chilean, who has family all over Latin America, and who has grown up in several parts of the region, I have become well aqcuainted with Christmas traditions of my beautiful culture. I have spent most Christmas seasons in Chile, Panama, Nicaragua and Miami, Florida.

Some traditions are the same as in England with a Latino twist, and some are completely different.

Now, let me be clear that Christmas traditions can be different from country to country within Latin America, and this diversity is what makes it such a beautiful region. So with that in mind, here are some of the traditions I've grown up with.

Latinos tend to get a little extra for Christmas…

…especially when it comes decorating the home!

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The park near my house in Panama

The entire city will be decorated. In Nicaragua, there was not a single corner without bright lights and loud music throughout pretty much ALL of December.

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Managua, Nicaragua

Fake Trees

A lot of the time we have fake trees since evergreens don't grow in a lot of the climates around the region. If not, we decorate palm trees in the garden.

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Seen in Panama City, Panama

Fake snow is a big theme

Since, you know, we don't have real snow for Christmas.

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Can't get through Christmas without these infamous, terrible quality, but AWESOME sprays of fake snow

Barbecues

In Chile we have huge Barbecues. Since its warm during Christmas we have large outdoor meals where we decorate our gardens and eat a lot.

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Preparing Christmas dinner

Carols

In Miami, there's outdoor nativities with carollers who sing traditional Cuban Christmas songs, and it's truly heartwarming.

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Outdoor Christmas nativity and Cuban carolling

Alcohol (unsurprisingly)

In Panama, Miami, and Nicaragua, the drink of choice seemed to be rum. In Chile, it is definitely Pisco Sour. It's a bit too warm for mulled wine.

It's definitely tradition to drink by the pool or the beach for Christmas and maybe get a little too drunk.

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Christmas eve drinks by the pool. Piña Coladas are always acceptable

Presents

We open our Santa presents on the night of the 24th, but most of our presents are delivered by The Three Wise Men during the Epiphany on January 6th.

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The Three Wise Men as seen in a Parade in Panama City, Panama

It's a time of charity for us

We tend to donate more to charities, give homeless people food and presents. We spend all of our Christmas budgets on other people rather than on ourselves.

It's all about being good to your neighbour! For example, in Chile there is a silent fireworks rule in many neighbourhoods so dogs won't get spooked. People also often use Confetti instead because it isn't as bad for air pollution.

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There are usually lots of outdoor parades and parties.

In Panama, the entire city goes outside on Christmas day to dance, sing, watch the parade and meet up with everyone they know and love.

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Parade in Panama City, Panama in 2016

And there's a LOT of loud music and dancing.

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Street dancing in Santiago, Chile