Christmas is a big celebration in Chile. Many, many homes are decorated - inside and outside, most homes have artificial Christmas trees (no place to grow real ones in the desert), and nativity scenes are common in the cities.
This is our next door neighbor's home.
This is in within our condominium community & they were about the first to put up their tree...outside.
At this mall in Iquique they have this beautiful display for the children to visit Santa. The tree is two stories tall, and the area is so festive for the children.
Even we had our little tree to enjoy throughout the season!
Our stockings hung with care!
This is at another mall - there are 2 in Iquique. Another large tree, a place for Santa, and a mailbox for the letters to Santa.
Over by the food court in one mall we discovered this little nativity/Bethlehem scene and loved it!
Off in a corner was the nativity scene. You can see the camels/wise men working their way down.
Some of the youth and young adults in the Los Aromos Branch.
Elders Acosta/Peru, Palpa/Peru, and Adams/UT were the live wise men in their nativity program.
One very fun tradition that happens only in Iquique and Alto Hospicio is where the big businesses travel throughout the city throwing candy to the children. They go to their employee's homes and take gifts to those children. We had several entourages come down our little alley-way street. They were still coming as late as 11 pm!
The main vehicle - sort of like a float in a parade - comes first and is decorated with a theme. This one was a Star Wars theme. Many cars follow...honking (so fun at 11 pm)...their cars are decorated or at least have Feliz Navidad painted on the windows...and enjoying being part of the party! Sometimes there was an additional float-type vehicle behind the main one that had several people on the float in costumes and they'd be the ones throwing candy to the children. The elders told us they, too, had candy thrown to them. They'd yell "Misioneros" and toss them candy. 'Tis the season!
Christmas decorations in Pozo Almonte.
We loved their lights down the middle of the main road through town.
These lights & decorations were at the roundabout we always use when going to Iquique each week.
We spent Christmas Eve with Rene and Silmara Lopez and their sons, Joao and Vini (3 months old and sleeping). The turkey was delicious and we enjoyed many different foods from Brazil as that's where Silmara is from. Yum!!
Several apartments were decorated as well and it was fun to see!
Finally, Alto Hospicio has quite the lights! We loved driving past them throughout the season!!
Of course, they, too, had a beautiful nativity scene. While Santa and elves were popular decorations, it was so wonderful to see a nativity scene in every city and town!
On Christmas Day we had the zone over, in groups, for pulled pork sandwiches, chips, watermelon, and cookies. This is one of the groups.
Elders Duke/CA and Barrington/UT spent a little time relaxing before leaving for an appointment.