Holiday time in an interfaith marriage can present challenges, not to mention exhaustion! As a Christian woman married to a Jewish man—formerly residing out west (Las Vegas)—we found our own way to celebrate Christmas with family and friends over the years. After Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, Hanukkah brisket and latkes, we were all ready for a menu change by the time Christmas rolled around.
In 2008, I decided to celebrate with my favorite food, Mexican, and have a Feliz Navidad party! The menu was shrimp ceviche, my awesome homemade salsa and guacamole, Mexican Caesar salad, both homemade grilled and steak tacos, pork tamales from a famous Vegas restaurant—my motto is, Why try to make something yourself if you know someone else can do it better?—red rice, beans a la charra, and plenty of margaritas. By the way, the best margarita in the world is the “Salt Air Margarita” from chef Jose Andres! I do my best to replicate it. Guests bring desserts, as most of the family has their specialties, and I am not a big baker.
No fiesta would be complete without festive, colorful decorations! Guests are greeted at the door by a plush donkey singing “Feliz Navidad.” For the table settings, I use vibrant Mexican striped blankets as tablecloths and top with centerpieces of bright flowers and mini–piñatas. Dinner is served from multi-colored Fiestaware dishes and plates, and big turquoise margarita glasses are essential.
Our friends and family were delighted to fiesta with us instead of partaking the usual Christmas meal. Needless to say, the first year was a huge hit, so the tradition of Feliz Navidad continues!