24 Dec 2011

Christmas Trip Down Memory Lane: the mid '80s

I've been trying to divide up these Memory Lane posts thematically... the "just me" years, the "Saudi years", but I've found so few photos from the 4 year period in the mid-'80s (specially Xmas 86 and 87, there have to be more photos somewhere!) that it seemed a bit silly to split them up!

We start with Christmas 1984, our first back in the U.S., when we were living in Potomac, Maryland (my dad worked in D.C.), only an hour and a half away from my Grandmother in Purcelville, VA and my Uncle, Aunt and cousins in Leesburg, VA. So that means big family Christmas at last! Well, for Christmas Day -American style-, since we still had our big meal just us on Christmas Eve -Spanish style-. I think it's the first year I went carolling -around our neighbourhood, with my dad playing the guitar-

And it's definitely the first year we set up a Belén at home! When hunting around for these photos I just thought it was the first year my mom had photographed the Belén, but upon asking her she told me that we had never set one up in Saudi Arabia because any religious manifestations were highly discouraged! I wrote a post yesterday about the Spanish tradition of the Belén which you can read here.

It's probably also the year I discovered candy canes! I don't eat many sweets any more, but when Christmas comes around I sure miss those! You can't find them in Spain! Peppermint candy isn't common here.

A year later and I'm quite a bit taller!

Check me out chatting with Santa Claus! 

This is the first picture I've found with my youngest sister smiling at Santa (another picture shows the middle one hiding in my dad's arms and wanting nothing to do with Santa!).

Need proof it's the '80s? LEGWARMERS!!! Found on Christmas morning in our stockings from Santa! (Along with those critters that I have no memory of. My sister thinks they were from Rainbow Bright which she adored)

We only spent two years Stateside before heading out, this time "south of the border" to Mexico! Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas (south, Guatemalan border) to be precise. So once again warm Christmases! The house was huge, so this tree looks really small!

We had an open staircase to the second floor and my dad got this shot of us decorating the tree from up there.

I couldn't find many pictures from that Christmas. Here's one of the three of us with three Mexican bears or dogs (dunno!). I'm surprised to see my sister wearing the same dress as two years before! I guess we did grow in spurts... (plus it's a Spanish dress, so very good quality for children's clothing):

The next Christmas I was 11 years old and it's the first time I don't recognise myself in a photo... I look so weird and gangly in all the shots! Starting to grow into adolescence I guess...

This huge house also allowed for really big Beléns! And no problem find all sorts of construction material locally.

Here's my sister as the Virgin Mary in a Mexican Christmas tradition: La Posada. It follows along the words of a song which tells the tale of Joseph and Mary arriving in Bethlehem and looking for shelter for the night on which Jesus was born. You have a group of people singing the parts of Joseph and Mary, another that of the people of Bethlehem turning them away at every door until someone welcomes them and offers them a stable for the night (the song becomes very joyful then).

It's Christmas Eve tonight! We're having a big turkey dinner at my parents' place. My sister (the youngest) flew in from England, but sadly the other redhead couldn't make it from New Zealand. But we do have my cousin from Mallorca and her companion and their adorable 2 year-old! So looking forward to an evening of loving family, and we'll catch Gabs in New Zealand via Facetime or Skype while we're eating our turkey and she's having her Christmas breakfast. 12h time difference is long, but at least it makes it easy to remember what time it is in the other country! :p

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas surrounded by the people you love!!!


  1. Merry Christmas Cris! Love the picture of the 3 of you by the tree, where you're standing on the chair. Do you mind if I ask what your dad did for a living that you traveled the world like that? What an exciting way to grow up. How did you like that life as kids?

  2. The one thing I notice is that picking YOU out of a picture is never a problem. Not only the flaming red hair, but a certain something else that shines right out of every picture of you. Great pictures that took me right down your Memory Lane. Merry Christmas, Cris!

  3. Aw, Cris you look so adorable in these photos, but then you always look adorable! Your posts and your travels are always so interesting, I love learning about the traditions in other countries and you've provided me with such info on many occasions!

    Feliz Navidad!!

    Hugs from Sunny Florida.

  4. A bit late answering this... oops!

    Kim: my Dad worked in the Foreign Service, mostly for the Department of Agriculture I believe. He was involved in contracts and budgets and such. His posts would last a few years and then it was back to the US for however long it took him to get another post overseas (which we always preferred to being back in the States, much more exciting!). So I'm just a plain old "Foreign Service Brat" ;o)

    DJan: my redness does make things easy... :D

    Shellbelle: thanks! :o)

    I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!


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