Unexpected Christmas Images

Whenever I am in El Salvador in November, I marvel at the early abundance and diversity of Christmas decorations which adorn public spaces and homes alike.  Even in the churches, congregations deck their halls and light up the Christmas trees well before the first week of Advent.

Stores advertise their "Black Friday" or "Black Evening" sales.  This is hilarious to me since there is no Thanksgiving celebration nor actual "Black Friday" as a day off from work on which to go shopping.  Giant inflatable Santas are put out in parking lots and reindeer made from straw sit out on sidewalks.  The competition among businesses is stiff as they entice customers to spend their aguinaldo (thirteenth month pay - an early December bonus paid to workers in the formal economy).

Despite the clear commercial element to the early decorating, I think there is truly a great deal of joy which the Salvadoran people have in decorating and lighting things up in anticipation of Christmas.   It's a happy time when everyday cares can be set aside, when the worries over all of the great and serious challenges within Salvadoran society are overcome for a bit by twinkling lights and cheery tunes.

Here are just a few images which I captured this year...enjoy!!

Buy your pre-lit Christmas trees here!  Yes, culturally appropriate palm trees are
available!  And, of course, if you don't have giant poinsettia bushes (pascua) growing outside of
your home in the countryside, you can buy these hot-house potted versions.

Christmas cookies!  Gingerbread boys and girls for dessert at a little pizza place near the UCA.

Your eyes do not deceive you - this is a Christmas tree made from empty beer
bottles!  This tree can be found at the Cadejo Microbrewery in San Salvador.

Merry Christmas from the FMLN!  Their colors of red and white lend
themselves to holiday cheer.  This is the office in Tonaca.

Christmas tree in our sister church community.  The cards on the tree
were made by preschool Sunday School children in the US


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