Feliz Navidad!


This is the first year in a very long time that I am still in the mood for Christmas music the day after Christmas. In fact, I might be ready to celebrate the full 12 days of Christmas, since our holiday festivities only began on December 23rd this year…and even then were pretty light! I did very little shopping, baked just two batches of cookies, and wrapped about a quarter of the gifts I usually wrap.

Hand mixing up ginger cookies in our under-stocked condo

Oh – and none of the restaurants or stores here play Christmas music, we were hard pressed to find any Christmas decorations, and I never did locate a single candy cane!

On December 23rd we went to check out Banana Beach (a hotel/restaurant/bar right on the beach), as I had read they were having a Christmas market and a photo shoot with Santa. The poor Santa looked so hot and miserable in his candy striped pajama bottoms, fake beard, and hipster glasses (yes, really). He was actively looking down at his phone in that way people do when they are really hoping no one will come strike up a conversation. I couldn’t decide if it was comedy or tragedy — as can often be the case in life…

Cassidy and the overheated Santa

The Christmas ‘market’ at Banana Beach also did not amount to much — just some hippie dippy artists with lots of tattoos selling their homemade jewelry and palm tree paintings. The food was actually pretty good though, and I loved the setting, esp the woven parasols hanging from the palm trees.

Noah and Sierra at Banana Beach Restaurant

On December 24th after wrapping my very small pile of gifts in the red tissue paper that I thankfully brought from home, we went down to the playa for a swim. From there we walked along the beach to an upscale boutique hotel called Florblanca, which has a restaurant called Nectar.

Sierra and Cassidy at Nectar – so exciting they had a Christmas tree!! (no evergreens here…)

We started with some sushi rolls as an appetizer, and the girls loved it so much that they decided to order more sushi for dinner. Noah and I had seafood entrees that were both excellent. The desserts were also heavenly – chocolate lava cake and a passionfruit cheesecake. Who needs candy canes really??!!

On Christmas Day, we made quick work of the gift exchange, but the girls seemed pleased nonetheless.

Sierra and Cassidy in our condo waiting to open gifts

Noah and I got the most amazing gift from Sierra — a song that she composed herself and sang for us. I was blown away. After a breakfast of steamboat omelette (Frey tradition), we had some time at the pool and then a heartwarming Zoom call with my whole family, including all the cousins. It was so fun to see everyone, and oddly at this point a Zoom Christmas celebration doesn’t even seem that strange, does it??

That afternoon I cooked up salmon, roasted potatoes, and green beans, which we packed for a picnic dinner on the beach at sunset. To sum up Christmas dinner: the scenery was lovely (as always), the food was decent (I never like my own cooking), but the extra company made it less than relaxing. We had a couple of local dogs circling our towels and barking with excitement at our Christmas dinner. In retrospect, I guess it’s not surprising that I’ve never seen anyone else here bring a picnic to the beach…only cocktails!!

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