People sometimes wonder about Christmas Day at Vida Joven. Do the children wake up early to open their gifts? Is there an emphasis on Santa Claus?
The entire month of December, and the first week of January, constitute “Christmas” for the Vida Joven kids each year. Pretty sweet, eh?!
Various companies in Tijuana host parties for the children, beginning in early December. Sometimes these parties take place at Vida Joven itself. Other times the parties take place off-site. Every party includes presents, food, and fun!
The children decorate a Christmas tree at Vida Joven when their school break begins, usually around December 18th. The tree (artificial, please!) stands in the dining room, where it is enjoyed by everyone, often. Other Christmas decorations adorn the windows and walls of the dining room.
On Christmas Eve, a group from Tijuana visits the children and brings a special dinner. Father Candelario (the children’s priest) leads the kids in a Christmas Eve mass, complete with lots of carols sung by the children. After church, there’s more music, a piñata, and staying-up-late.
Christmas Day itself is low-key at Vida Joven. December 25th is a quiet, happy day to stay at home and enjoy the gifts that have been given throughout the month. There usually are not additional gifts to open on the 25th–and this works well.
While we are “Santa Fans” at Vida Joven, we don’t emphasize Santa bringing gifts to the kids on Christmas Day. The children receive gifts all month long from friends and visitors. And, any effort to preserve the story of Santa for the little ones gets quickly spoiled by the older kids! Such is life with thirty children of varying ages.
The holiday season officially ends on January 6th every year: Three Kings’ Day. On this day, the children will be treated (by yet another company in Tijuana) to the traditional Three Kings’ Bread (Rasca de los Reyes).
Merry Christmas to the children and staff at Vida Joven. And Merry Christmas to you.