Christmas in New Mexico

On Christmas Eve morning, we left Denver at about 6:45 am to head down to Los Alamos for Christmas.  The drive went pretty well and we only encountered bad roads on I-25 just north of Walsenburg, CO and on the south side of La Veta Pass.  We stopped for lunch at Orlando’s in Taos before heading the rest of the way into Los Alamos.

Upon arriving in Los Alamos, we went to Grandma Church’s house where we met her and my aunt Betsy.  We then headed over to my uncle Alan’s house and took a tour of it and chatted with Grandma, Alan, and Betsy for a while before heading up Barranca Mesa to my dad’s.  At my dad’s house, we helped light luminarias before we headed back down to Grandma Church’s house for dinner.  After dinner we headed back to my dad’s house and then relaxed before heading to bed.

I do have to make a note about the luminarias though.  My dad’s neighborhood has a tradition that the entire street of Los Pueblos puts out luminarias on Christmas Eve.  The county turns off the streetlights so that the only lights on the entire street are the luminarias.  Cars come from all over Los Alamos and turn off their headlights as they drive down the street to look at them.  It was very cool.

Christmas morning we woke up and opened presents with Dad, Ivy, and Micah, then we had breakfast and settled in for a relaxing day.  We really didn’t do much that day except hang out and eat the wonderful turkey dinner that Ivy prepared.

On Friday, we got up and had breakfast then headed to Santa Fe with Dad, Ivy, and  Micah.  The first stop was at Best Buy to exchange Micah’s XBox that had died on Christmas day.  We then parted ways and Andrea and I went over to the Plaza where we got her favorite strawberry tarts from the French Pastry Shop at the La Fonda Inn.  We then went and looked at the Christmas Store on the Plaza, and then went and toured the Cathedral of St. Francis to see their Christmas decorations. 

After we left Santa Fe, we met my friends, Scott and Marianne, at Gabriel’s between Santa Fe and Pojoaque for dinner.  The food was pretty good there and the margaritas were some of the best I’ve ever had.  After dinner, we headed back up to Los Alamos for the night.

On Saturday, we relaxed for most of the morning before going on a drive down into the valley with my dad.  He took us to Romero’s Fruit Stand, north of Española, which is truly in another world from any market I’ve been in in the US.  We then drove north to Abiquiu and Bode’s Market (also in another world), before continuing up north of Abiquiu to see Perdenal (Georgia O’Keefe’s mountain).  We then drove back toward Española and through the Ohkay Owingeh reservation on our way to doing some wine tasting at Black Mesa and La Chiripada Wineries before heading back to Los Alamos to pick up Ivy and Micah.  We then went back down to Española for dinner at La Paragua.  The food and margaritas were both excellent there.  After dinner we drove back up to Los Alamos and I played Micah in some Call of Duty and NCAA Football on his new XBox before heading to bed.

On Sunday, we woke up and Dad made pancakes for breakfast.  After loading up the car, we talked for a while before we left dad’s house for Grandma Church’s.  We got to Grandma Church’s at around 11 and talked to her for about an hour and a half, sharing stories from our visit to Peru this summer, since she had visited Peru in 1987.  After that, we headed out of Los Alamos at around 1.  We stopped at Vivac Winery in the gorge and then continued on to Taos where we had lunch at Orlando’s again.  After Orlando’s, we continued toward home.  We met Andrea’s friend, Jessie, and her husband, Matt, in Colorado Springs on the way home for dinner too.

It was a really good trip and a great time.  Thinking back, I’m pretty sure it was my first Christmas with my dad since I was in 6th grade.