It’s that time of the year when leaves turn red and orange and candy corn appears, and sleigh bells ring and Santa is everywhere. Santa in October?
Well, here in La Paz, that is the way. Actually the ToyLand tent opened in the Chedraui parking lot in August! The stores jam all the holidays and their special-themed goodies together and believe it or not sell them in a hurry.
This year Hotel Perla has a big sign on the side of their building that says
I am hardly a traditionalist. It would be safe to call me a maverick, a rebel. But I love the holidays. I love the last quarter of the year. And I like to savor each holiday as it comes and enjoy each in its own special way. We have a rule in our house that no Christmas decorations can appear before Thanksgiving.
Back in 2000, the first Halloween my beloved and I spent in La Paz was, well, not the same. Our household goods had not yet been shipped; there were no pumpkins in the stores—nothing about Halloween. And we did not know about the Day of the Dead celebration at Teatro de La Ciudad.
( watch for a Day of The Dead Post next week!)
I was regretting leaving behind my severed hands, and screaming witches I used to scare the kids in our neighborhood. I found two ugly citronella candles in glass holders. I printed two clip art skeletons for each holder, taped them on the outside and voila! Halloween décor. And you know what? People admired them! That was almost 20 years ago.
Early in my new life in La Paz, I looked high and low for anything for Day of the Dead. Once I found some tiny, almost melted sugar skulls at the old CCC on Colima. On a business trip to Mexico City, I visited Sanborn’s and was mesmerized by the vast displays of Day of the Dead items, especially the chocolate skulls of every size. This year as we did our Sunday shopping, I entered City Club and found this:
Incredible: White skulls, blue skulls, dark chocolate skulls, boxes of three small skulls. I sent the photos back to the old country on my iPhone and immediately heard back from my daughter to buy some, freeze them, and bring them at Christmas! But that’s not all: Check out these chocolate Jack-O-Lanterns and Halloween costumes.
Look at the fake tombstones as a backdrop to piles of pan de muerto (bread of the dead). I especially love the table skirt with Day of the Dead themes. This is truly the blending of two popular holidays. For awhile I was afraid Halloween I would eclipse Day of the Dead.
Another year I bought a new 8’ artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree that was on display in August in City Club. Right there near the kayaks!
So what’s the point? Well, we know that in the frozen north across the border, Christmas hits the stores early as well, but not before Halloween. Nordstrom announced that they were not going to decorate their stores for Christmas until November 27th which is after Halloween. No one will notice on Black Friday, anyway.
So, back to La Paz. I needed to replenish my cosmetic supplies, so off to Sears we went. Christmas is in full swing there, and their Christmas department is full of whimsical and elegant ornaments, something for every taste. Trees draped in only icy blue stars, snowflakes, and birds, trees covered in fuchsia butterflies, bows, and stars, trees draped with softie toys, and an entire table of Victorian and rustic Santas. Like Angels? Sears has them! But, you better get there quickly and buy what delights you now or they will all be gone. The first of the year-end bonuses are given to Mexican workers in November, and they shop early.
It happened to me last year. I was cutting through Sears on the way to the Cinepolis when I stopped for a few seconds to admire the magical display. I had my not-so-patient beloved along, and Bruce Willis and carmel popcorn was calling his name. A week later, I returned on my own to buy some of the magical ornaments. There were no trees! Not one ornament was in sight, not even a string of tinsel.
It was as if the Grinch had sucked everything Christmas off the shelves and out of the store!
So, be warned; if you need seasonal decorations, go now and don’t hesitate; they will be gone faster than 8 tiny reindeer can lift off.