Merry Xmas Xela!

Bells are ringing, it‘s freezing out, and everyone finished working for the year about 5 weeks ago, so it must be Christmastime in Xela! And as always, the good folks here at XelaWho HQ have been working hard on our guide to surviving Christmas Xela-style so you can make sure the only turkey this Christmas is the one on your plate. If you’ve been in town for a little while, you may have realized that Xela goes kinda nuts from mid-September on. Kicking off with months of marching band practice in every school in town through Independence Week and then finishing up with Christmas and the New Year — this is certainly Xela’s craziest time of year. So if you don’t dutifully fly home to see your Trumploving family for some stimulating uncle rants about how The Poor waste all their money, grab an octavo of Quetzalteca‘s finest blanco and enjoy the holiday season here in Xela!

This time of year, there is an endless series of unfathomable celebrations every weekend to celebrate this, that, or the other. If you can work out when stuff is going on with any precision, please let us know and send us a job application. From fireworks by ye ol’ Gallo tree, to Christmas tasty paches (spiced potato cakes that are steamed in banana leaves — basically the tastiest treat you’ll find in Xela) and piles of singing Christmas tree lights blaring out of time – a.k.a. the most irritating thing on the planet – it’s a magical time of the year.

Every year, most workplaces will also put on a convivio, the Guatemalan equivalent of an office Christmas party. Usually lavish affairs, many workplaces splash out of their convivio to appease the board of directors who take the convivio as their chance to be thanked for having not resigned since the last convivio. So if you’re lucky enough to get invited to one, make sure you starve yourself for a few days beforehand so you can take advantage of the smorgasbord that your nonprofit probably spent 30% of their annual budget on and hit the open bar so you can impress your boss with all your incoherent rants about the moral complexities inherent to the development sector.

And as we do every year… the traditional recounting of that time Alex ruined Christmas… A couple of years ago, yours truly decided that a Santa-shaped pinata was the perfect addition to Christmas in Xela. After 20+ friends at various stages of inebriation and coordination tried to stab Santa open with a big spoon (tip: pinatas last longer if you use a spoon not a baseball bat) and not a single piece of candy had come out, one bright-spark realized that your faithful editor had forgotten to fill Santa with candy (in Guatemala, pinatas don‘t come with candy, you need to put it in yourself). Even 6 years later, the painful memories remain of a flaming Santa being shot with roman candles in the street by an angry mob of tipsy big-kids who missed out on their Xmas candy.

And if you’d like to go sit on Santa’s lap and tell him how bad you’ve been, head down to McDonald’s by Parque Central and check out Santa’s December tour dates. A happy meal (Fun Fact: invented in Guatemala), Santa, commercialised Christmas, what more could you want?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Xela!

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