Eddie Vega of Christmas past. Courtesy photo.
Eddie Vega of Christmas past. Courtesy photo.

When I was in college
I once explained our South Texas holiday weather conditions
to a girl from the Midwest
“Oh my God, how do you deal with not having snow at Christmas?”
I can deal with the weather, darlin’
But I can’t deal with you!

Santa Claus is overheating
because it’s 76 degrees
in December
Except for the props at the mall
I’ve never seen a sleigh
We dream of having any snow at all
not just the Christmas one that Bing Crosby used to know
And why is it that despite the fact that our forefathers fought and died
to free us from British oppression,
our most idyllic holiday scenes are of Victorian London?

Christmas on television
Christmas on the radio
Christmas in the classroom of my youth
All seem like jabs from the Anglo-Nordic, New England establishment
About how much I’m missing out.

Also, I hate Danish butter cookies
and I hate getting them
and I hate all the empty wax cups that fill the tin and make me believe I still have more
after I’ve eaten them all

To me Christmas is about tamales
and buñuelos
and posadas
Abuelitas complaining about abuelitos
and abuelitos snoring in easy chairs
And more tamales
A midnight mass that starts at 11 p.m.
Real sugar cookies, the kind that crumble in your hands
and dissolve in your mouth
whose crystal remains have to be slapped off your sweater
like your aunt beats the dust off a rug
A Christmas party that starts around noon and lasts until New Year’s
where it’s not unusual that entrees come off the grill
and tamales
and sides of Taco Cabana rice and potato salad from Bill Miller
with a styrofoam cup of beans as an appetizer
and late night menudo
with a side of tamales
as we play 40 rounds of loteria
gambling our worries and pennies away

So keep your snow and mistletoe
Pass the rompope
Hold onto your sleigh, silver, and jingling bells,
I’ll be listening for “buena!”
because someone called el cantarito
And have yourself a merry little Christmas
while I have myself
some more tamales.

*Featured/top image: Eddie Vega of Christmas past. Courtesy photo.

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Originally from McAllen, Texas, Eddie Vega is a teacher and poet who has called San Antonio home for more than fifteen years. He is a graduate of St. Mary's University.