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Ahhh…the holidays.  This was our first holiday season in a temperate climate, and let me tell you it was pretty darn weird.  There was something definitely not right about having lunch outside in late December when it’s in the 70s…every day.  They do dress the town up nicely though with many decorations, both large and small.  Papa Noel (AKA, the Big SC) can be found here and there in malls and neighborhoods taking pics with little kids who’d rather be anywhere else.  In our neighborhood, they held a Novena for parents and kids in the park, and it was a very nice event that included a lovely performance by jazz saxophonist Marvin “Doc” Holiday, an ex pat from the states currently living in Quito.  He is really fantastic.

On Christmas Eve we all went to my Grandmothers place.  Very similar to home, there was a gift exchange, the classic “numerical pick or trade the present game” (I’m sure there’s another name for that), and a few other fun activities.  One game involved each family having to pop a balloon inside of which was a note that included a kind of “dare” activity.  Boy did we get lucky as most of these included singing or dancing.  Our challenge was to form a human Christmas Tree.  I’m trying to get a photo of that but imagine Ethan on my shoulders, Vickie and Meghan wrapped around us trying to form the shape of branches and all of us covered in decorations with some actual lights thrown in for good measure.  It was a lot of fun.

Here come the pics, and at the bottom is a short video of Ethan playing two holiday classics on clarinet.  I know it’s January, but this music is so timeless and the instrumentation so beautiful that I don’t recommend skipping it.  Unless, of course, your cat is in the room.

A Large Holiday Display at the Cumbaya Circle

Ethan Performs at the School's Holiday Concert

At a Novena at Sabrina's, Ethan and Geronimo Play Some Holiday Classics...Only in Different Keys

On a Carriage Ride in the Old City

A Picture of the Nieces and Nephews Christmas Eve

Miguel and Family Perform One of the Party "Dares"

Ho Ho Ho

All Bella Wanted for Christmas was a New Bed.  Think She Needs One?

Holiday Tunes by Ethan - Click Twice to Play