At home, while the majority of my family sat by our very real Christmas pine tree, sipping hot chocolate, wrapped up in warm blankets, sounds of Christmas music filling their ears, and most likely roasting chestnuts over an open fire, I sat in southern Brazil, living a very different kind of Christmas.
Summer had only just arrived in Brazil and my family, along with every other family near the coast of Brazil, took refuge in our beach houses. Dubbed Bombinhas, the area becomes full of tourists and temporary residents during the summer. As it turns out, living near the coast isn’t enough; every family must have a second home literally on the coast. But no complaints here! My family’s beach house rests comfortably on an isthmus, beaches on both sides. In other words, I spent a great amount of time on the beach.
Maybe it was the excess of Vitamin C or all the salt water went to my head, but I never caught the predicted holiday depression. Brazilian Christmas was another world. Practically everything done in the States, is done on the contrary in Brazil. Here, most families open presents on Christmas Eve, have a Christmas Day lunch, and play Samba music instead of Christmas music. Oh, and since it is summer not winter, the magical “White Christmas” was more of a very “Sandy Christmas.”
But, the importance of family during the holidays was no different. In the days before Christmas, family from all over flocked to our home. The pile of presents continued to grow underneath the un-pine smelling Christmas tree until the day we opened them.
I started Christmas Eve by waking up early to go fishing with my host dad. We drove halfway up a terrifyingly steep and rugged road, and then descended a small trail through the woods on foot. After a few minutes, the trail opened up to allow the view of the ocean. We had arrived at a secluded section of the peninsula, which seemed to be especially designed for fishing lovers.