Can you blame them? You know…. it’s interesting. Until you take your first winter holiday you are blissfully living, working and playing in the snow, the slush and the cold. It’s not your fault, you didn’t know any different.

Once you get a taste of the “Pura Vida” life, you can never go back!

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Our first “warm” Christmas was in 2006. With our toes in the sand, my husband and I enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner on the beach with other travellers who were doing the same thing as we were — getting away from the cold and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in Canada. Was it a different Christmas from our traditional Alberta one?? You can bet it was but we loved it!

What is so different about a Christmas in the Tropics?

  • There is no need for a log-burning fireplace to keep the icicles off your nose.
  • No ice skating on Christmas Day with the family.
  • We don’t cook a 5 hour turkey in the oven and eat til we burst
  • We don’t shop for hours on end looking for just the right gift. So what DO we do?
  • Our families come to visit and spend Christmas in the sun and the sand with us here.
  • We spend time visiting with all of the new friends we’ve made in Costa Rica.
  • We visit various sites around such as the Cortez Waterfall on Christmas Day. It’s certainly different than ice skating at Bowness Park on the frozen lagoon drinking hot chocolate around the bonfire.
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  • A few years ago, we hosted a fabulous Christmas Eve Pot Luck dinner around the pool. Over 70 people joined us to share in the festivities. We were one big family that night.
  • We can’t always be with our own families for the holidays. Skype or Facetime are wonderful inventions and we use them often. We can watch our grandson open presents on Christmas morning or be with our kids around the dinner table on Christmas Day if only for a few minutes.

    With the world being so accessible now, many families don’t live in the same town anyways. This has changed the way we socialize with our families regardless of the time of year. Being in Costa Rica for Christmas is really no different than living in Vancouver or Toronto or anywhere else in the world — it’s just WARMER!

Christmas traditions that just don’t change no matter where we are….

  • What would Christmas be without a tree with lights and ornaments? Yes, I put up a tree. It’s not the fragrant Alberta spruce tree that we love but it’s a tree none-the-less.
  • My Santa collection followed me to Costa Rica. Over the years, people have given me precious Santas that mean so much to me. If I can’t spend time with my family and friends who are back in Canada for the holidays, I relish the gifts they’ve given me over the years and display them proudly all over the condo.
  • Do we exchange gifts? Occasionally but our gift is usually time. We celebrate our friends and family here by spending time with them. It could be at the beach, sharing meals or just lounging around the pool.
  • Christmas Carols — As soon as the first snow falls in Calgary, I break out the Christmas carols. I’ve even been known to listen to them in July but then again, I am abit of a Christmas nut.

I’d like to thank Karen, our receptionist, for sharing one of her Costa Rican Christmas traditions with us.

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We have a tradition for Christmas. Every first of December we put what we call El Pasito or Portal under the Christmas tree. This Portal (or manger) is a model depicting the birth of Jesus. A bed of grass is made and small figures of shepherds and wise men are placed on it. In this portal we put also animals like goats, sheep, horses and cows.

Figures of Mary and Joseph are placed at the head of the crib but the little baby Jesus isn’t placed there until December 24 at midnight.

At the end of December, this Pasito or Portal is given away to someone else and the belief is that this small Portal will bring blessing and a new home to the person to whom it is given.

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