Wayne's Weekly Reader

by Wayne Klick

December 16, 1998

Christmas in New Mexico

You knew I had to write a column about Christmas in New Mexico.  I mean, after all, it is December, we are starting to get sick of "Deck the Halls", and most of us have done some shopping but not all of it.  Publishing an article about Christmas in New Mexico during January would not have been well received.  And, you know that I usually write about what's on my mind and/or about New Mexico.  (thank god we can see the end of football season, right?)  How can Christmas not be on someone's mind right now?

However, so as not to go off on a cynical bah humbug tangent, I would say that Christmas in New Mexico is actually very cool.  Thanks to the culture, The Holidays here are unique from anywhere else.

One thing that makes Christmas special in the Land of Enchantment, is something called the farolito -- often incorrectly called a luminaria.  What I love about the farolito is it's simplicity.  All it is, is a paper bag with 3 or 4 inches of sand in the bottom and a votive candle placed in the center.  No electricity required.  This doesn't sound like much and it isn't.  However, when the sidewalks and driveways of a neighborhood are lined with farolitos and all the streetlights are turned off, the presence and beauty is impossible to accurately describe.  Ya just gotta see it.

I think the farolito, mythologically, is supposed to light the way for the three wise guys so they could find their way to the manger where the Christ child was born.  I'm not sure about this and I didn't have time to do proper research on the subject like a good journalist would.  However, like my anti-hero Rush, I don't claim to be a journalist.  Life as a writer is much simpler when you don't have to worry about being accurate.

In the Albuquerque country club area, near where we live, the residents are actually required by law to put out farolitos.  All the streetlights are indeed turned off, and bus tours go through the area (without headlights).  We look forward to it all year.  We have some friends come over, have a few, bundle up and go out and take the "luminaria walk".  The feeling of seeing all the little bagged candles on the unlit streets is truly magical.  Like I said above, you can't appreciate it based on a written description.  New Mexico is a great place to spend The Holidays.  It's not too cold, but not too warm either.  Come and see us sometime for Christmas!

Well, there will be room for one more column before Christmas Eve, but I know most of you will be too drunk to read it.  And I may be too drunk to write it, but I can't see myself getting that drunk.  Anyway, if I don't see you before the Holiday, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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