Families around the Imperial Valley are getting ready for a weekend of festivities. The mall may be packed with last-minute gift runs, but in the comfort of their homes, many are winding down yet gearing up to celebrate the Christmas season at home.
Some like to go the extra mile to have a fun holiday, going all out with the decorations, inside and outside, the food (like all the families that are slaving over the tamales for the posadas), or just gathering for parties big and small.
The Guerrero family in Brawley is just one family that likes to go (or be) a little extra for Christmas. Adriana Guerrero lives with her parents, Grace and Adam Guerrero, and she has her niece with her this year, Gia Guerrero. The extreme love of the holidays started with her parents.
“Oh yes, we are very excited for Christmas. Christmas has been a very special time of the year for my family, especially this year,” Adriana said.
Outside their house, the Guerreros have decorated with lights on the roof and inflatables on the lawn like many families around the Valley, but they have also brought out about 17 Disney-themed inflatables all lined up with the words “Merry Christmas” in the front yard.
And that’s not even all of them. Adriana says they are still pulling out balloons and will be adding more to the lawn up until Christmas Eve.
Inside is a warm family home that is has small but bright decorations all over the house.
The two Christmas trees are set up in the entry, one small and one large, while a fireplace is warming the house with digital flames. Even smaller trees can be seen in the other room, the kitchen. Tinsel garlands are wrapped around the staircase, stockings hang on the walls and from the banister, holly sprigs are in the windows and the tables, along with candy canes both plain and sparkly.
Santa is on the table and the walls while two elves watch the youngest member of the household for good behavior, a large Nativity scene sits on top of the fireplace mantle, and a candy village display sits on the dining table in the front room. And of course, greens, reds, and whites are everywhere.
Just like with the outside, “this is only half” of the decorations, Grace Guerrero said.
This year’s holiday season has even more meaning for the Guerreros. Due to restrictions and COVID hitting the family last year, they were unable to do most of their usual Christmas activities. Adriana said they didn’t even put the inflatables up outside.
This year the Christmas fun is returning with a vengeance for the Guerrero family. Adriana said they even made a list of Christmas things they needed to do this year since they missed last year due to quarantine. That includes the Christmas posada, family parties, going out to see the lights around town, making tamales, cookies, just every Christmas activity one can think of. They’ve also adopted a family in Mexicali and gave gifts to the children, wanting to give back.
They plan to gather with the rest of their family for an annual Christmas Eve party. There will even be a separate kids party on Wednesday where the children of the family make gingerbread houses and even have a Santa piñata to break open.
Grace says the family feels very fortunate this year to have made it through the rough time from the year before and just want to give back and celebrate.
“We’ve been very lucky no one has died due to COVID. We didn’t even know if we were going to make it last year and to be here is a miracle,” Grace said. “We just want to celebrate.”
The Guerreros are just one family who are gearing up for the big night this week. Many families will have equally big get-togethers while others are smaller and more intimate. And there are still other community events and church services to attend that night for some people.
Christmas Eve, Day Happenings
This week Our Lady of Guadalupe in Calexico will be having posadas every night leading up to Christmas Eve. Each posada will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held at a different family’s house each night. The addresses of the families who will be hosting the posadas this year can be found in the parish bulletin here.
Brown Bag Coalition will be hosting its seventh annual Christmas posada on Thursday, Dec. 23, at the Calexico Community Center for the unhoused individuals of Calexico. The day starts with a breakfast, haircuts, and showers at 9 a.m., a lunch and movies from 1 to 4 p.m. while providing COVID vaccinations as well, and finally with the evening dinner and gifts from 4 to 7 p.m.
Dogwood Sports Bar in El Centro will also be hosting an evening of Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24, starting at 9:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve services are, of course, being held all over the Valley. Most churches are holding some sort of service for the community on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Saturday, Dec. 25. The Brawley/Westmorland Catholic Churches will be hosting 16 Masses the whole Christmas weekend, according to Father Ed Horning.
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