Friday, December 30, 2011

What to Play This New Year's Eve 2012 -- The Required Songs

No Colombian New Year's Eve party would be complete without the following two songs. The first is played at exactly five minutes to midnight. The other at midnight.

Faltan 5 para las 12 by Miguel Zebarce

Yo No Olvido el Año Viejo by Tony Camargo

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What to Play This New Year's Eve 2012 -- Salsa & Merengue

Here are El Tiempo's Salsa and Merengue suggestions for a Colombian New Year's Eve.

Extraño tu amor by Guayacán Orquesta.

Perdón by Willy García

'Qué nos pasó' (Combo de las Estrellas con Golpe a Golpe).

Esa muchacha by Los hermanos Rosario

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What to Play This New Year's Eve 2012 -- Vallenato

The newspaper, El Tiempo, published a list of the music that every Colombian should be playing this New Year's Eve at their party. Here goes the Carribean music -- mostly Vallenato selections from that list. Look forward to the Salsa list tomorrow.

Ella y tú by Joe Arroyo.

La gringa by Silvestre Dangond.

La plancha by Los cantores de Chipuco.

Lo que tú necesitas by Jorge Celedón and Jimmy Zambrano.

La señal by Daniel Calderón and Los Gigantes.

Tu número uno by Peter Manjarrés y Sergio Rodríguez

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holy Innocents Day

December 28 is the Dia de los Santos Inocentes. A traditional Catholic holiday, it is meant to remember the children that were slaughtered by the order of King Herod when the Three Wise Men did not return to tell Herod where the child King could be found.

El Dia de los Santos Inocentes is similar to the U.S. way of celebrating April Fool's Day. It is a day for playing pranks on people, fake news reports, and jokes.

If you'd like to prepare your family a special Santos Inocentes dinner in honor of this holiday, Check out the recipes and crafts that Family Fun magazine has for April Fool's Day. It is a fun way to introduce kids to this Colombian holiday.

Monday, December 26, 2011

El Año Viejo 2011

Tonight, for our family night, we are going to make our Año Viejo. But, what exactly is an Año Viejo. The Año Viejo is a life size doll made out of old clothes and stuffed with straw and newspaper (and illegal fireworks in Colombia -- we skip this part). This doll hangs out, usually on the front porch, for the week between Christmas and New Year's. Just before midnight on New Year's Eve, people set fire to the Año Viejo. It is burning the old and bad of the past year in preparation for the new.

In our family, we write down something we want to burn away along with the doll and stuff it in side. When we used to live in the city, it was not possible to burn our doll. Now, out here, surrounded by water, we burn the darn thing!!! So, therapeutic. I will include pictures after we make it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


December 24 --Day NINE of our Christian Novena

Scriptural Basis -- Matthew 2:1-12

Message/Activity -- The wisemen brought gifts to the baby. What gift can we give the baby? We end by retelling the entire story and then moving the Kings to the manger and placing baby Jesus in the manger. We share family gifts.

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Friday, December 23, 2011


December 23 --Day Eight of our Christian Novena

Scriptural Basis -- Matthew 2:1-12

Message/Activity -- Wisemen visit the Christ child. They brought 3 gifts. Make a treat and bring it to 3 widows or other people. Carol to them and offer the gifts.

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Thursday, December 22, 2011


December 22 --Day seven of our Christian Novena

Scriptural Basis -- Luke 2:8-17

Message/Activity -- After the Shepherds visit, they share what they have seen. In our day, people who have come to know Christ and his Gospel also share his word. Tonight we work on a missionary project (send letters to missionaries, help supply needs to a missionary, etc).

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


December 21 --Day six of our Christian Novena

Scriptural Basis -- Luke 2:6

Message -- No Room In the Inn -- Often at Christmas time, we have No Room for the real meaning of Christmas. Our Inn is full of cards, presents, wrapping, parties, etc. This is the night to focus on offering the Baby Jesus room in our Inn. We watch a Nativity Movie and then talk about other Homeless people.

Activity --
Movie and then make a donation to the Homeless shelter.

Sounds Track: Two Songs

Let Him In by Micheal McClean

Homeless by Micheal McClean

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


December 20 --Day five of our Christian Novena

Scriptural Basis -- Luke 2:6

Message -- Swaddling Clothes in a Manger -- Swaddling clothes were long strips of cloth used to wrap the baby. Jesus did not have fancy clothing or disposable diapers when he was born. In our community there are many people who do not have money to buy fancy clothes either.

Activity --
Go through closets and make a donation to Goodwill, or prepare a newborn kit for the Hospital to give to low income mothers.

Sounds Track: Away in a Manager

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Monday, December 19, 2011


December 19 --Day four of our Christian Novena

Scriptural Basis -- Luke 2:4

Message -- Importance of knowing your Lineage -- Joseph was of David. We also have wonderful ancestors that give us a feeling of our own self worth. We are building our own family now and some day our stories will be important to our descendants.

Activity -- Share stories or a story of an Ancestor's Christmas or just a story from their life. Add to our family scrapbook a story from this year. Go out and buy family gifts and wrap gifts for each other.

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Sunday, December 18, 2011


December 18 -- Christian Novena Alternative

Scriptural Basis -- Luke 2:1-3

Message -- Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to be Taxed. Explain what Taxes are used for.

Activity -- Have the children contribute a "Tax"from their money to support a donation to Toys for Tots or an Angel Tree child, etc. Buy the gift with the child's TAX, wrap it (if appropriate) and let the child deliver it to the donation spot.

The sound track for tonight also includes Juanes version of Burrito de Belen.

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Saturday, December 17, 2011


December 17 -Day two of our Christian Novena

Scriptural Basis -- Matthew 1:18-end -- The Story of Joseph

Message -- Joseph was Jesus' "adoptive" father. He took care of Jesus, taught him, and loved him. There are many children around the world that do not have an adoptive family to love and care for them.

Activity -- Do an orphan related service project. (Example: donate money or goods to a reputable charity).

Soundtrack -- I Was Not His Father by Micheal McClean in his Forgotten Carols CD.

Here are the links to the Catholic Novena if you are doing that.

In Spanish:

Friday, December 16, 2011

NOVENA starts tonight

As a primarily Catholic country, Colombia celebrates the holiday season with many Catholic traditions. One such tradition is the NOVENA. While here in the US many people celebrate 12 days of Christmas, in Colombia the Novena is 9 nights long. It starts on the 16th of December and ends on the 24th. That makes tonight the start of the NOVENA. Not being Catholic, I am unsure of the details. However, if you are a Catholic family with Colombian children this could be a great way to incorporate Colombian tradition in your home. Here is an interesting link on that seems to indicate which prayers are to be said on each of the nine nights (In Spanish).

Here it is in English:

Again, as a non-Catholic family, we have decided to create our own Christmas Novena. It helps us focus on the true meaning of the Christmas season and gives us a connection to our Christian, our American, and our Colombian Heritage. Over the next few days, I will share our ideas with you so that perhaps if you are not Catholic and you are interested in implementing a Novena in your family, this approach might be helpful.

December 16

Scriptural Basis -- Luke 1:39-56 -- Mary leaves to visit her cousin Elizabeth

Message -- Discuss the importance of our extended family in strengthening and supporting us.

Activity -- Prepare and send Christmas cards to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.

This is also the night that we begin to move the 3 Kings closer to the manger.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pictures from Noche de Velitas

77 visitors, 70 homemade bag lanterns, 5 gallons of milk, 4 cans of whipping cream, lots of cookies, our Noche de Velitas -- Priceless!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Official Start of Colombia's Christmas Season

December 7th is the official start of the Christmas (Navidad) season in Colombia. December 7th is the Catholic Holiday called the Día de la Anunciación. However, both Catholics and non-Catholics celebrate tonight by placing candles and lanterns and lights all over the front of the house and along the sidewalks. It is known as the Día de Velitas or El Alumbrado.

In our family, we celebrate by placing red, white and brown paper lunch sacks -- each filled with sand and a lighted candle -- around our front yard. This year to our Open House Celebration, we have invited over 80 guests. We invite them in shifts (29 from 5:30-6:30, 29 from 6:30-7:30, 26 from 7:30-8:30). People are to bring a plate of American cookies (this is the mingling of cultures part of the night) and we provide the Colombian Hot Chocolate, the music, and the lantern making supplies. Our guests make their own paper sack lantern and place it in front of our house. When we are all finished, it looks pretty cool. I will have to post some pictures later :).

In Colombia, the entire neighborhood would be outside and you can hear music, laughter, and singing. There is also plenty of dancing. Here in the States, we are the only ones on the street celebrating, but it makes for a meaningful evening with our kids.