Cover image for Las Christmas : favorite Latino authors share their holiday memories
Las Christmas : favorite Latino authors share their holiday memories
Santiago, Esmeralda.
First Vintage Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage Books, 1999.

Physical Description:
xvi, 198 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : Knopf, c1998.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT4987.155 .C57 1998C Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GT4987.155 .C57 1998C Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Twenty-five celebrated Latino writers delight and move us with their recollections of Christmas in this splendid holiday extravaganza.
From Julia Alvarez's tale of how Santicl#65533; delivered a beloved uncle from political oppression to Junot D#65533;az's story of his own uneasy assimilation on his first Christmas in America, to Sandra Cisneros's poignant memories of her late father's holiday dinners, Las Christmas gives us true stories from writers of many traditions--memories of Christmas and Hanukkah that vividly capture the pride and pain, joy and heartbreak, that so often accompany the holidays in the Americas.
Richly illustrated and embellished with songs and poems, along with recipes for an unforgettable Christmas dinner--from traditional sweet tamales to Puerto Rican asopao (stew) and coquito (coconut eggnog)--this is an enduring treasury of Latino writing to read again and again.
A heartwarming holiday gift.

Author Notes

Esmeralda Santiago is the author of the memoirs When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman , as well as a novel, Am#65533;rica's Dream . She lives in Westchester County, New York.
Joie Davidow was a founder of the L.A. Weekly , L.A. Style magazine, and S#65533; , a national Latino lifestyle publication. She lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Stories about Christmas often have a magical quality, enabling them to transcend time--whether set in the 1800s or modern day, the virtues and lessons ring true. All of these books are touched a bit by that kind of magic. Wheeler's latest addition to his Christmas in My Heart series contains many perfect examples. From the story about the little orphan boy who simply longs for an end to his loneliness to the one about the grandmother who, in the midst of grief, goes from store to store trying to find a certain doll for her granddaughter as a gift promised by the child's recently deceased mother, each extols its own tender message. The writing style of many of the now-deceased authors is definitely not subtle, yet the heavy-handedness can be easily overlooked because the results are quite charming. If this volume doesn't evoke holiday spirit in even the most belligerent Scrooge, nothing will. Roberts' collection is quite unusual. Rather than compiling fictional pieces, the editor has assembled brief--often a page or less--reminiscences and an occasional poem or haiku from various Welsh authors. Separated chronologically into memories from Advent to Christmas, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day to Epiphany, each contribution offers a glimpse of Welsh customs. Many submissions are refreshingly candid and often humorous, occasionally using the holiday simply as a backdrop to recall a bizarre family member or beloved town landmark. The authors, charming with their cockney-like tone, veer from tradition to tell it like it was in all its often bawdy splendor. Touching on a variety of topics, from the turkey dinner to the Mari Lwyd, Christmas in Wales succeeds in being both entertaining and educational. Mary Engelbreit's art, recognizable by cherubic faces and fanciful detailing, has graced everything from calendars to home decor. This year, not content with mere greeting cards, Engelbreit has compiled a wide range of favorite holiday verses to produce this beautiful keepsake. Consolidating carols, poetry, fables, an occasional religious passage, and annals of holiday customs from around the world, and literally overflowing with vibrant illustrations printed on gilt-edged paper, this collection is aptly named. There is no doubt that countless hours were spent not only on the artwork but also in choosing the contents and arranging the segments in a way that effortlessly melds the old with the new. Not a detail was left to chance--even the various fonts seem to have been selected purposefully for easy reading while maintaining a whimsical feel. (Although normally unaffected by Engelbreit's work, I was absolutely overwhelmed by this imaginative and utterly enthralling collection.) Jenkins' sentimental novel is about Noella, an unfailingly optimistic journalism professor at Northwestern University who meets and soon falls in love with Tom, an extreme pessimist and a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. To the surprise of Tom's coworkers, his harsh views of the world are slowly mellowed as he catches glimpses of life through Noella's rose-colored glasses. Things seem too good to be true until Noella reveals her sincere belief in Santa Claus and offers what she swears is proof of his existence. Unfortunately, Tom can't set aside his cynicism, and despite their attempts, the relationship falters. But then Tom takes a journalistic excursion to Germany to write about the origin of Christmas traditions and the holiday's mascot--Kris Kringle. A fun story that will enchant even those who don't believe in Santa. As a special feature for the final issue of Si magazine, its editor, Joie Davidow, enticed popular Latino authors to share their Christmas memories. The resulting stories were not always the joyful sketches of holiday celebrations she expected but often more complex, displaying a wide range of feelings. Expanding on that idea, Davidow and Santiago appealed to an even larger group of Latino authors, from several Spanish-speaking countries, for Las Christmas. A few stories tell of how a family's holiday celebrations evolved after their immigration to the U.S., a few mention much anticipated visits from Santa or the three wise men (from the Feast of the Epiphany), and a few more evoke feelings of hunger by describing holiday delicacies (recipes are included). As diverse as the authors themselves, every story is richly fulfilling and offers many variations on a common theme. Despite its Latin focus, Las Christmas does not discriminate but rather captivates readers regardless of their heritage. Pearson's little book is about Annabelle Perkins. Annabelle, unmarried and simple living, has dreamed about visiting Bethlehem on Christmas and delivering to the baby Jesus a gift of a bronze lamb figurine given to Annabelle when she was a child. One day she realizes that she is not getting any younger and her diseased heart isn't getting any better, and plans are set in motion. Annabelle makes a small deposit on a no-frills trip to the Holy land and picks up an extra shift each week at the little cafewhere she works. The nest egg builds slowly, enabling her to deliver her gift to Jesus, albeit not the one she originally intended. This modern-day fable is packed with symbolism about unexpected sacrifice, the power of faith, and the beauty of giving. Its brevity facilitates reading it aloud, perhaps to a classroom of students or even at family gatherings. Since the death of his parents, Will Martin was raised by his grandparents. After his grandfather unexpectedly passes away, Will must return to the small town to oversee the successful business the elder Martin bequeathed to him. Constant reminders of his grandfather as a kind and highly respected gentleman bring back memories that both sadden and bolster him as he introduces the business and its employees to the 1990s. When his grieving grandmother makes a peculiar Christmas wish--for Will to find the woman his grandfather visited each Christmas Eve (as confessed in the gentleman's journal)--Will begins to question his grandfather's integrity. The Christmas Wish is by title a holiday story but by content a profound message about the strength of forgiveness. Scheduled for release on audiotape and also as a television movie, this story by Utah representative Richard Siddoway will undoubtedly reach and touch many people. --Toni Hyde

Table of Contents

Aurora Levins MoralesJunot DiazMandalit Del BarcoGustavo Perez FirmatDenise ChavezJaime ManriqueMichael NavaJulia AlvarezLiz BalmasedaEstela HerreraGary SotoEsmeralda SantiagoGioconda BelliFrancisco GoldmanVictor MartinezSandra CisnerosPiRi ThomasJudith Ortiz CoferLuis J. RodriguezRosario MoralesMartin EspadaIlan StavansMayra Santos FebresRay SuarezJudy Vasquez
Introductionp. xi
Dulce de Naranjap. 3
The Three Kings Lose Their Wayp. 13
PeMex Xmasp. 17
Good Night to Nochebuenap. 23
Big Calzonesp. 33
Merry Crisis and a Hyper New Year!p. 43
Charityp. 51
Switching to Santiclop. 59
Next Year in Havanap. 67
Nurturing the Wild Beast of Christmasp. 71
Oranges and the Christmas Dogp. 79
A Baby Doll Like My Cousin Jenny'sp. 87
A Christmas Like No Otherp. 95
It's Magic!p. 105
Barrio Humbug!p. 117
Un Poquito de Tu Amorp. 127
A Christmas Treep. 133
The Gift of a Cuentop. 139
Colors Breathing Themselves into the Bodyp. 149
I Didn't Go Home (Christmas 1941)p. 155
Argue Not Concerning Godp. 161
Oy! What a Holiday!p. 169
A Little Bit of Blissp. 175
Nuestra Navidad en Chicagop. 187
Poems and Songs
Rueda, Rueda (A Villancico from Peru)p. 20
En Brazos de una Doncella (A Christmas Song from Ecuador)p. 50
Llegaron Ya los Reyes (An Argentine Folk Song)p. 75
Jibarismosp. 93
Pedida de la Posada (Asking for Lodging)p. 113
El Asalto (The Holiday Assault)p. 194
Puerto Rican Tostones con Mojito (Fried Plantains)p. 10
Papas a la Huancaina (Peruvian Potato Salad)p. 21
Cuban Congri (Rice and Beans)p. 31
New Mexican Sopaipillas (Fried Bread Pillows)p. 41
Pasteles de Arroz y de Gallina (Rice and Chicken Steamed in Plantain Leaves)p. 47
Holiday Punchp. 58
Yuca al Escabeche (Yuca in Garlic Sauce)p. 69
Argentine Matambre (Flank Steak Roll)p. 76
Orange and Cilantro Saladp. 85
Jicama, Pomegranate, and Watercress Saladp. 86
Arroz con Coco (Puerto Rican Rice Pudding)p. 92
Hot Chocolate Atole (Thick Hot Chocolate)p. 111
Mexican Bunuelos (Cinnamon Fritters)p. 121
Easy Bunuelosp. 123
Tamales Dulces (Sweet Tamales)p. 124
Coconut Flanp. 147
Puerto Rican Asopaop. 159
Pernil (Roasted Pork)p. 167
Pescado a la Veracruzana (Fillet of Fish in a Tomato and Onion Sauce)p. 172
Bizcochitos (Mexican Anise Cookies)p. 174
Tres Leches (Cream Cake)p. 185
Coquito (Coconut Eggnog)p. 193
Acknowledgmentsp. 197