Christmas Food but not as you know it
In Mexico, families tend to get together on December 24th to enjoy a delicious feast consisting of turkey, leg of pork, spaghetti and often romeritos, made from sprigs of wild seep weed in mole sauce with potatoes, and often served with shrimp patties. Another popular choice is bacalao, prepared with salted cod, tomatoes, garlic, onions and green olives. The usual suspect on most tables is a deliciously sweet Christmas or apple salad, made with apples, raisins, condensed milk, cream, and chopped pecan or walnuts.
The traditional Christmas dinner in Jamaica on the other hand, generally takes place late afternoon on Christmas Day and tends to include some form of chicken (usually without the jerk!), Jamaican-style ham, oxtail soup and even curried goat. Rice and gungo peas are also very likely to make an appearance.
If you simply can’t do without your favorite Christmas dishes however, fear not! Most all-inclusive vacation packages at luxury resorts in Jamaica, Cancun, the Riviera Maya or Los Cabos are bound to include turkey with all your favorite trimmings. Certain resorts may even offer special Christmas dinner events (usually requiring a reservation to plan seating arrangements), á la carte Christmas menus or buffets in a variety of restaurants.
Festive things to do on Christmas Eve
May sound weird, but one of the most popular ways to spend Christmas Eve in Jamaica is to head out to the Grand Market, or Gran’ Market, generally held in all major towns across the island. December 24th sees families getting dressed up to spend a good part of the day and most of the night in this colorful festivity filled with bustling shops, street vendors, music, dance, and delicious street food. As night falls, the atmosphere becomes even more festive as the number of people out and about increases threefold.
Prior to the traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Mexico, families often attend Christmas Mass, commonly referred to as the misa de gallo, but generally held during mid-to-late evening. The overall atmosphere is very merry and filled with Christmas carols and smiles all round. Christmas Mass in Jamaica, on the other hand, is a Christmas Day celebration, where attendees are kitted out in their ‘Sunday best’ and steel drums accompany popular Christmas carols.
To ward off nostalgia during your all-inclusive holidays in the Caribbean, appearances by Santa Claus are a given at any family resort. Festive events can also be found, like the traditional Christmas Village or the Sweet Christmas experience at Moon Palace Cancun (also open to guests staying at any of the Palace Resorts sister resorts), where each room is themed with a different kind of Christmas candy or sweet treat. Resorts such as The Grand at Moon Palace also feature a mesmerizing festive table-protection mapping dinner experience.