Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Traditions: It's Not Christmas Without Tamales

I am on family vacation for the holiday, but while I'm gone, you are in for a treat from some sweet friends. They're sharing their Christmas traditions with us! If you missed one, click here to catch up. Happy reading!

By Crystal-Lee Howley

Christmas= my favorite holiday.
Not because I think Jesus was born in December {our savior's bday doesn't change the fact that He is God}, not because I love snow {So Cal... not in abundance in the valleys}. Partially because I LOVE christmas music, and partially because I do love how So Cal Christmases can be 80ºF {nope, I actually hate that}. What I DO love is this celebration of light out of darkness, of promises answered by God, of a glorious miracle remembered. But I must be completely honest, it's just not Christmas without tamales!

Mexican's and tamales; they are a genetic necessity. Being with family on a happy Christmas Eve after a joyful Christmas eve service is made perfect with a HUGE plate of delicious tamales. And these are the women who make it happen:
my mama, Nana Chela, and my Tia Maria.
{In preparation for this post, I realized I have not one single photograph of our annual tamale assembly. For shame!}

Come December 23rd, my nana's kitchen is filled with sinus-clearing spices, meats cooking 'til they're oh so tender, and the very tired arms of my Tata Ramon after long intervals of mixing the maza (corn meal dough) to the perfect texture. Then comes the assembly line: soaking cornhusks, maza, meat and wrap. It takes hours; hours of jokes and laughter, nana & tata's childhood memories, talk of church and what we're learning...and of course, hopes of more great-grand children {oh yes, the pressure's on}. It's a day like non other...almost as fun as Christmas. I treasure it each year, and can't wait until the next. This is a family tradition that spans back generations from the time my great-great grandparents made it to Mexico. And it's a tradition I fully intend on keeping for generations to come.

I am so thankful for a family centered around God and devotion to each other. Christmas brings everyone together in only ways God can. These traditions have shaped my family's history, and will hopefully define its future.
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About Crystal-LeeI love to do many, many things like singing classical music, teaching others how to appreciate classical voice, dabbling in graphic design, cooking {especially baking!}, but I work as a makeup artist focusing mainly on Wedding/special event and photography makeup. I also teach one-on-one makeup application lessons. My hope is to help women gain the confidence and knowledge they need to do professional quality {but natural-looking} makeup. When a women leaves my chair, I want her feeling gorgeous!

Where to find her:

PS. Come back tomorrow for a "How-To" on Tamales!
^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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