The Spirit of Christmas Lives on in Las Barras

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Christmas spirit lives on in Las Barras, a small village in Mexico. This is a story of hope that provides insight to how the children of Las Barras deal with the commercialized Christmas holiday.

Submitted: December 11, 2011

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Submitted: December 11, 2011

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The Spirit of Christmas Lives on in Las Barras

It is December 24, Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), in a small town in Mexico. Las Barras is a small fishing village with a population no more than one thousand. Children are running on the dirt roads which are scattered with rocks. The mothers are sitting under a tree watching the kids play. There hearts weigh heavy as they can only wish for something nice to be placed by the children’s beds that night. The fathers are just coming ashore with some fish they caught that morning. They are slowly walking up the hills towards their humble homes which are made of braided branches. Their facial expressions show how tired they are after a long day at sea. The children talk amongst their friends. They smile and laugh with excitement as they eagerly share their wishes about what Santa Clos (Claus) may bring for Christmas.

They are trying to remember the items on their lists. Some boys dream about the G.I. Joe action figure, while others share desires of the newest remote control race cars. Most of the young girls wish for a baby doll with big blue eyes. While others just hope for a pair of new plastic sandals, so they don’t have to go to school bare foot.

This is the biggest holiday that is promoted on television and radio. The childrens hopes and dreams grow bigger each year as advertisements fill their heads with wonderful toys and trinkets for kids of all ages. The TV commercials claim there is always something for everybody. American movies playing on the two channels that get reception in the village, show the children a Christmas they can only see in their dreams.

As the children huddle around the small TV screen, they see a big Christmas tree filled with colored lights and all kinds of shiny decorations. Christmas gifts with beautiful wrapping paper and bows fill the floor around the Christmas tree. The dinning table is set with fancy candles and shiny silverware. A family gathers to pray around the table after the mother serves the food. The children of Las Barras don’t recognize this Christmas image that has become so common on the TV. They wonder if they will ever see anything like this in their lifetimes.

As the day goes on, the mothers prepare fresh, hot bunuelos (a fried flour tortilla with simmered cinnamon and cloves syrup). The air is filled with the sweet holiday smell that everyone anticipates this time of year. Although all the children are joyous, for some, this maybe all they get for Chirstmas this year.

The children are called around their dinning table. They sit at the small wooden table with mismatched chairs. Some of the chairs are missing the backs or arms. There is no silverware, napkins or fancy Christmas plates set at the table. There is just some plastic dishes that are worn and chipped like those found at the dollar store. This reality is very different from the wonderful scenes played out on the TV.

The mother serves the hot bunuelos as the family excitedly tastes this joy. The little faces stare at their mom and dad as if trying to read in their faces. They wonder if they will have a surprise prepared for tonight.

The kids’ are overjoyed and filled with suspense. With their feet covered in dirt, the five kids get into the single bed they have shared all of their lives. The bed is made of sticks and covered with a hand made blanket. The blanket was made by their mother using patch work from their old clothes. The excitement makes them toss, and turn. They can’t fall asleep. They whisper to each other and take turns peeking through the holes in the blanket to see if they can finally catch a glimps of Santa. They all want to see if he will bring them something this year.

As the night goes by, the worried parents can’t sleep. They dread the looks on their childrens faces when they all wake to another Christmas morning with nothing to play with. The children are finally asleep. Their angelical faces still have a smile on. The night goes by, as the Christmas morning soon appears.

The mother is preparing the fire for their typical breakfast, cafe con leche (coffee and hot milk). Like every Christmas, the children wake up excited with beautiful smiles. They quickly look around the house and under the bed to see if Santa left something.

Joyfully, they ask both parents if they know if Santa had come by. They all look at each other in disbelief as they can’t find anything. Still hoping for something, they continue to search around the small house. The children search under the bed, around the house, even outside by the trees, but there is nothing. Nothing again. They go back to the table to drink some cafe con leche. They are still trying to understand why Santa couldn’t make it to their home again this year.

“Is it that he started delivering toys so far away that by the time he got near their village he ran out of toys?” asks the small boy. Or “is it that the dirt roads were too rough on the raindeer’s feet?” asks a small girl. “But, doesn’t Santa’s sleigh fly?” they all question. Then the youngest girl asks, “Maybe it’s because we don’t have a Christmas tree.” The kids’ little minds are puzzled as they try to find an excuse for another year without Santa and Christmas. As their Christmas hopes of Santa begin to dwindle, they all realize this has happened before. This is not new for anyone in this small town. 

The oldest child blurts out, “Maybe Santa didn’t have enough money for toys this year due to the bad economy?” “Perhaps only those children who live closer to the North Pole will get gifts this time.” They all agree with their older brother. Ahh ha! He must be right.

The conversation turns positive with hope for next years’ Christmas. These children will never loose hope. They go outside to find their friends and learn they didn’t get anything either. They begin to play with the toys and games they all know so well. The dirt, rocks, shells and sand bring smiles and laughter as they play together. As the boys skip rocks in the waves they realize that, “Playing outside is much more fun than those electronic toys.” Some of the younger children are building sand castles, when they discover a piece of wood buried in the sand. They eagerly call out to the rest of the children. “Come here, we found a treasure chest!” As they uncover the wooden box, they quickly open it. It’s empty. There is nothing inside, just like their Christmas. They bury the old chest back in the sand and don’t say a word. The children go back to skipping rocks, and playing in the sand while others jump in the waves. It’s another Christmas in Las Barras. It’s another beautiful day. 
 
 


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