By Angel Nuñez
There are so many things that USED TO be different in the village of San Pedro back in the 1950’s and 60’s especially revolving around Christmas and when we remember them we even become nostalgic. Oh how do we wish we could go back in time to re-live those wonderful holiday experiences! This is how I recall the following.
CHRISTMAS TREES - Oh yes we USED TO decorate our Christmas trees but it was a totally different experience. Our Christmas trees consisted of a small branch of the pine or cypress trees which grow wildly and huge here on the island. The small branch was inserted into a bucket of white sand which was the stand and which provided some moisture so that the tree would remain green a bit longer from the 16th to 31st. Listen to this! The trees were decorated with balloons, crepe paper, and any small plastic toys like dolls, guns, even sling shots and faces of Santa Claus cut out from magazine. The tree looked so beautiful at the beginning with fully inflated balloons but took on a sad appearance later on as the balloons became deflated. The tree was placed in the living room and a “quinque” or kerosene lantern was placed near it in the night to give it some glow. Strings of lights did not come into being until about 1965 with the coming of electricity to the village.
THE CHRISTMAS HAM - It was called the Christmas ham because it was not available throughout the year except at Christmas time. These hams were not refrigerated but came in cloth bags and were very salty and smoked. They were hung in the stores for the public to notice them and villagers purchased them and hung them from the ceiling of either the living room or the kitchen which was also the dining room. You might ask why they were hung and it was for public viewing so that everyone would know that the family would be having a grand time, an exceptional Christmas, and a special banquet departing from the customary everyday fish and marine products. This ham was boiled two times to remove the salt and then baked. And listen to this, the ham was cut until the 24th in the night and then consumed slowly hoping and intentionally trying that it would last until the New Year. This is how we USED TO enjoy the hams in yester years.
CHILDREN’S WISH LIST - Whereas today children’s wish list for Santa Claus include expensive and sophisticated electronic equipment the wish list of children of the past was simple. A doll was a must for all girls age four to twelve. A pair of pop shot revolvers a rifle that fires a cork were a must in all boys’ list for Santa. Once a child received these, he/she would know that Santa was generous to him/her. However there were extras for the kids and they included tea sets, musical boxes, clothes for the dolls, sling shots, marbles, sling shots, trompos or whipping tops.
I tell you Christmas was not a good Christmas without a live natural tree, salted smoked ham, and a doll or pair of guns.
Old fashioned tops and the new modern tops "Beyblade"
25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today Online Newspaper -Jose Luis Zapata Photography –Lala’s Store -Pampered Paws -San Pedro BTB Office -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush, A & R
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