Ciriza Christmas Traditions

Last week I came to the realization that I put up too many Christmas trees. Two in the living room, two in the family room, one in the downstairs bathroom, one in our guest bedroom and one in the entryway. The trees vary in size, but most of them are decorated.

Theme Trees

Before too long I realized that after 50 years of collecting ornaments, I needed a theme (or several for that matter). So instead of having one hodgepodge Christmas tree, it morphed into a Mexican Tree, a Holy Land Tree and the main tree with my religious ornaments. Thank God I finally stopped purchasing ornaments! This year it took five days to complete the decorating.


The Tamale Crew


No one was in the tamale spirit this year. I give tamales as gifts to friends and neighbors so, of course, I have to rally the family into making them. It was just us, minus our granddaughter Maddie who was at work. I had staged the kitchen for this messy production. Something always goes amiss with this assembly; this time the sauce was too runny! Sonja came up with the idea of adding corn starch, but I felt that adding this ingredient would compromise the flavor. No one ever listens to me!

We did our best, so under these circumstances the tamales came out tasting great. We had a lot of leftover masa, so instead of throwing it out we made pendejos (stupid tamales).

The Pendejos

It turns out that there is a small demand for these meatless tamales because vegetarians love them. Both Sonja and Mikos sang the same song: “Oh my gosh! Why are you making them? No one wants to eat them!”  I had one earlier today, and it was delicious! I had eaten a total of four tamales in one day! Then Mike wanted In–N–Out hamburgers for dinner! I honestly felt like a grazing cow, going through the green meadows without a care in the world.  I’m not only eating tamales, I’m  gorging on all the sweets my wonderful neighbors gifted us. I’m getting a little scared because Mike purchased the largest prime rib; so from here it’s all downhill until I get my head straight.


Because we’re so busy, who has time for Mass? I was questioning that on Tuesday evening when we had a special service for our teens at St. Norbert’s. We had a guest speaker, worship music, and followed with Adoration. I was immediately convicted for thinking that I was too busy to attend this service. Being before the Blessed Sacrament brought such peace to my spirit, a calming that we all need during this busy time.

The Birth of Our Savior

I praise God for how beautifully His spirit has manifested throughout Advent.  It is a time of miracles, and more and more people are turning their lives to the Lord. We all get caught up in the notion of the Christmas season and all that the world wants us to believe. It’s about Jesus, but how we receive this message is personal. Take time to reflect on the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke, chapters one and two.  If you do not have a Bible, use your phone. Do not miss out on the greatest of all celebrations.

I recently read a post on Instagram describing how to make “Christmas about you.” No, it’s not about us! It’s about JESUS!


St. Norbert Parish


By now most of you know that I have an elderly cat named Prudie.

Psalm 150:6   New American Bible (Revised Edition)

Rockefeller Square


We took our annual trip to New York and Connecticut with our friends Larry and Helen. Whenever we’re in the Big Apple we always visit  St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We prayed, lit candles, then walked over to Rockefeller Square to pose in front of the Christmas tree.

Beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral
It seems to me that after all these years, perhaps New Yorkers could change it up a bit. I love the cherubs blowing their horns, but it’s been the same theme for over 20 years. One thing I did take great offense to was the building display at Christian Dior/Saks.  Their whimsical astrological wheel was an eyesore and has nothing to do with Christmas.

We stuck out like sore thumbs in this state, but I love the feel of a small-town community. We even caught a musical in a tiny theater in Iveryton. It was delightful! What I liked most about this visit were the family-owned restaurants that catered to our taste buds with locally grown products.

Mike, me, Larry and Helen
In closing we should all  rejoice, knowing  that the Archangel Gabriel came to Mary with the Annunciation of our Savior’s birth. There is no greater news than this! How God chose a town that is now almost 100% Muslim is a mystery. He knew that the citizens of Nazareth would one day fall on their knees, praising the one true King.
My Prayer
Lord, help us all to draw closer to You. To those who are alone, fill their hearts with joy. To those who are suffering illness, heal them. To those who are homeless, lead them to Your manger, warm their hearts with Your love, and offer them hope. For those who are in prison, pour love into their hearts. For those suffering from addiction, deliver them, Lord. Amen.
From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas!



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