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A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


This time two years ago we were purchasing a piñata Christmas tree at a local papelería (stationery store) in the jungle town of San Pancho, Nayarit. This was a first for us no doubt and a true deviation from the traditional American 6-foot Douglas-fir that was so customary for us in the States. We got a good laugh out of our paper mache substitute with its glued on candies and joyfully welcomed it into our home as part of our reinvented lives in Mexico.

A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Our First Ever Piñata Christmas Tree!

My Mom came for a two-week visit and boy were we happy to have the comfort of family with us on this first Christmas away from “home” as we processed and worked through the simultaneous emotions of losses and gains. Mexico was now our country of residence, and having my Mom here during the holiday season helped to make the transition and acclimation into our new digs easier on our kiddos, and therefore me. 

2013 found us celebrating in San Pancho again, this time with a Charlie Brown tree and our first ever Christmas without extended family in our home. It was no doubt an adjustment for us all but we kept plenty active and celebrated in style in our own simple way. 

A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Our Charlie Brown Tree Decorated with Popcorn, Cranberries and Handmade Crafts

Now 2014 and our third Christmas in Mexico, we are spending it in the central highlands of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. The cooler high desert December temperatures have us feeling much more in the holiday mood…something about cold weather and Christmas that just go hand in hand!

The Reds were very clear that they wanted a real Christmas tree this year and a big one at that, so we set out on a mission to find one that fit said description! 

Christmas tree lots are not what they are in the States. The viveros (nurseries) might have a small selection of trees, but it is mainly at the large grocery stores—Mega or Soriana—where one can find a live tree. The selection was small, but Irish luck was on our side and we found a beautiful 6-foot Douglas-fir, still fragrant after its long journey to central Mexico.

A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Picking out our Christmas Tree


A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Team Work!

My Mom will be coming for a visit and we are very much looking forward to this time together and sharing our lives with her here in our central Mexico home—especially during this colorful, festive holiday season where San Miguel de Allende is alive with the magic of all things colonial Mexico!

In our former San Diego world, our tradition was to go for walks on the beach during the Christmas holiday season. Here in central Mexico, we are creating completely different memories…

A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Artesian Market Discoveries with The Reds


A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Poinsettias in the Jardín


A Colonial Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Christmas Tree @ The Parroquía

Our lives are distinctly different inland than they were coastal—colorfully and beautifully so. One not better than the other, just different.

Mexico is alive with color, history, time-honored traditions, family and community connectedness…it is palpable and I am often not without a smile on my face walking around town, exploring and integrating my life, my family, our story, into this one.

We are on a grand life journey—a continuous one full of adventure, change, challenge, and fun…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And so on this Christmas/Holiday season, I wish you and yours the absolute best…that you live in truth, that you go after your dreams, and that you live a life and leave a legacy you are proud of.

Deja que tu alma cantarLet your soul sing…If not now, when?

Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas de Los O’Gradys in Mexico!


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About the author: Together with my Retired Firefighter Husband and our now 19-year-old twins who were just 8 when we immigrated to Mexico in 2012, we have created a joyful life of design and freedom South of The Border. Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico! Saludos, Katie 🇲🇽 ☘️

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Larry Sulky December 16, 2014, 9:08 pm

    Hi, Katie O’Grady! I’ve been enjoying your blog entries for the past few months; they are articulate, insightful, and fun! My girlfriend and I will be making the Big Move next year, to Chapala, and will be able to visit her sister and BIL in San Miguel from time to time. It’s nice to see photos on your site and recognise some of the locales from our past visit. 🙂

    • Katie O'Grady December 16, 2014, 10:42 pm

      Hello Larry!

      What a delight to read. Thank you so much.

      And how exciting for you and your girlfriend that a grand adventure is on your own horizon!

      I doubt you will look back once with regret!

      Would love to meet you both when you are in town…

      Here’s to our paths crossing…



  • MONNICA O'GRADY December 18, 2014, 8:32 am

    Beautiful photos. Beautiful family. Yes, the color is what I see too. Such vibrancy. I am glad to see your doug fir. We have a forest of them and we are bringing one in for our tree, too. Congrats on your blog success. love you so

  • Rick December 20, 2014, 10:21 pm

    Thanks for these insightful bog posts.
    I passed through San Miguel a few weeks ago and the magic caught me. I spent six days smiling.
    After reading your post we went up to the pyramid with Albert Coffee – amazing.

    • Katie O'Grady December 21, 2014, 7:42 am

      Hi Rick,

      You are so welcome and thank you for the kind feedback.

      You are right, San Miguel holds a certain magic for sure….every day holds its own special treasure.

      So glad you made it up to Cañada de la Virgen…We are looking forward to exploring the pyramids outside of Mexico City as well. Will post on our experience when we do.



  • Genevieve August 15, 2015, 7:42 pm

    I was just checking out your holiday in San Miguel de Allende post–beautiful blog! My husband and I are going to be there for the holidays this year, but we arrive very early Christmas Eve. I was just reading that everything shuts down that day, and I am a little freaked we won’t be able to find a place to get groceries! We have a kitchen in the place we rented, and I had planned to make the most of it. Agh! Do you have any thoughts–will there be a couple places open Christmas eve morning?

    • Katie O'Grady August 16, 2015, 12:02 am

      Hello Genevieve!

      No doubt you will be able to find something open….I believe one of the major grocery stores–Mega or Soriano–was open last year, although don’t quote me on that.

      Christmas Eve is more commonly celebrated here than Christmas Day, but with San Miguel being such a popular place for holiday travel, I imagine you could find something open even if with limited hours.

      Might you be able to make arrangements with the place you are staying to have some groceries already in stock before your arrival?

      I am happy to bring this question to a SMA Yahoo Group that I am a member of. Give me a couple of days and then give me a holler at katieog58@gmail.com



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