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A Very Sacramento Christmas

The final bell of fall semester rings and you are on Winter break. Finals are done. Freedom. How are you planning on spending that next week leading up to Christmas? Are you roaming the Fab 40s with hot cocoa in your hand and looking at the houses done out in Christmas decor? Are you listening […]

The final bell of fall semester rings and you are on Winter break. Finals are done. Freedom. How are you planning on spending that next week leading up to Christmas? Are you roaming the Fab 40s with hot cocoa in your hand and looking at the houses done out in Christmas decor? Are you listening to “Twas the Night Before Christmas” as lights flood the facades of the buildings in Old Sac? Or building up the courage to let go of the wall at the K St Ice Rink? We all have different holiday traditions, but what we have in common is that each of us has our own definition of “Christmas in Sacramento”.

Mrs. Adriana Mundo moved to the United States from Mexico 31 years ago. She loves to do the typical American traditions of looking at lights, drinking hot cocoa, and ice skating, but she often misses Christmas in Mexico. The CB Spanish teacher combines her Mexican traditions with her husband’s American ones to create a truly unique Christmas. 

“Here in the US I go more with my husband’s family. It is more or less the typical thing. We go around four’o’clock and talk with them, cook, be together, and have dinner with them. After that we open all the gifts.” 

Since she moved to the United States, Mrs. Mundo’s traditions have changed greatly. She left behind “Las Posadas” which is a week where every day people go to different neighbor’s houses, have pinatas, sing, and dance. She misses the dancing the most.

But do not be fooled. It would not be like the Spanish teacher we know and love to completely throw her Mexican traditions out the window. She has clever little ways of bringing her homeland to Sacramento. If you know Mrs. Mundo, you know that spice is an essential part of her diet. She shares with me her own tradition of incorporating some necessary spice into the typically bland American holiday meal.

“When I go to Thanksgiving, I take with me a little bottle with chiles. With the turkey or the ham, I need some chile — it’s good flavor for me”.

For those of us who have grown up in Sacramento, we all have pretty similar ideas of what Christmas time looks like, but Mrs. Mundo’s is much different. “Christmas in Sacramento” is less about the activities, and more about family time. Although she is far away from her family, she recognizes her husband’s family as hers too. Her favorite part of the holidays is spending time with them, especially after such a rough year where it was difficult to see her family members.

“It is really important time, especially after the Coronavirus. Now we really need to say thank you. We all really need to be together after this past year”.

For Kelly Cook (‘22), Christmas truly is “the most wonderful time of the year”.

“I love to go look at lights, especially in the Fab 40s, but when I think about Christmas in Sacramento, I think about how crazy it gets in East Sac with all the people looking at lights”. 

Many of us can imagine East Sacramento during the holiday season. A mix of “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” and car horns. I know how overwhelmed I feel driving through the beautiful madness, but for East Sacramento residents like Kelly, there is one word for Christmas time: insanity.

“I love it, but it can get pretty crazy,” the senior says.

Outside of looking at lights, Kelly loves to go ice skating. She finds it to be a little bit of a bummer that her family does not go to the snow, but that does not stop her. Instead of making trips up the hill, she makes a few downtown.

“My favorite place to ice skate is at the K street rink. It is only open for a short time. I love how it’s outdoors and has Christmas trees and lights. It’s very seasonal”.

Christmas in your hometown is the ultimate nostalgia, so whether it is more of the typical Sacramento traditions like Kelly or simply about family time like Mrs. Mundo, take this time to relax, turn up the Christmas tunes, and let those fall semester blues fall away.

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