Hands down, my favorite thing to do in Mexico in December is visit the Christmas market. I can wander through the stalls selling nativity scene figurines, twinkle lights, Christmas ornaments, fireworks, Christmas trees, candles, and tamales for far, far too long. In fact, that's just what Clara and I did all Friday afternoon.
We went in search of a Maria and Jose for our nativity scene. Now, nativity scenes are a bit of a national obsession in Mexico. These market stalls sell the traditional Holy Family, shepherds, wise men, and then they add all variety of barnyard animals, fish, cactus, women making tortillas, etc. Most Mexican nativity scenes are very extensive (to put it mildly). My mother-in-law's takes up half of their garage. Hers is just average-sized.
I could see myself getting swept up in this quest for collecting the most outlandish figurines. Therefore, early on, I gave myself a limit. One new figurine every year. As this is the third Christmas for the Rodriguez-Douglas family, we are on to a grand total of three figurines--the Holy Family is complete! But imagine the menagerie I'll have when I'm eighty--it will take all month for me to set up the nativity scene!
We ended our trip with a visit to a tamale stand. Knowing that my in-laws are visiting this coming week, I am quite sure that we'll wind up with more tamales next week than we'll know what to do with. But it's been so long since I've had one, that I couldn't resist! Topped off with a mug of champurrado (a thick drink made from corn and flavored with cinnamon, rather like atole) it was a perfect December picnic!