Rudolfo Anaya’s The Farolitos of Christmas: With “Season of Renewal” and “A Child’s Christmas in New Mexico, 1944”. Illustrations by Amy Córdova.
This keepsake volume of Rudolfo Anaya’s Christmas writings opens with the classic New Mexico Christmas story The Farolitos of Christmas, Anaya’s heartwarming story of a beloved holiday tradition, of a promise, and of homecoming on Christmas Eve. This Christmas story by one of New Mexico’s best-known authors (Bless Me, Ultima) has delighted children and adults since it was first published in 1987. “Season of Renewal,” Anaya’s narrative of Christmastime in his native state, first appeared thirty years ago in the Los Angeles Times and recounts timeless Hispanic and Native traditions that continue in New Mexico to this day including the reenactments of revered nativity stories, Los Pastores and Las Posadas. Finally, in “A Child’s Christmas in New Mexico, 1944,” Anaya presents us with a storied poem, in stunning verse, never before published. It is Christmas morning, he is a seven-year-old boy, and is running through the icy dawn to his neighbor’s door to seek “mis Crismes,” special treats. That night he and his family walk to midnight Mass where the church choir memorably sings “Las Mañanitas,” a birthday song, to baby Jesus. But there is a bittersweet aspect to looking back on childhood’s magic from an older man’s vantage; the world has changed, the ways of elders are nearly lost, innocence has transitioned to experience. Rudolfo Anaya’s Christmas collection is like a snow globe—shake it, then watch as the scene emerges through the orb revealing tradition, family, community, love. This gift from a master storyteller and New Mexico treasure is sure to be loved by children of all ages for decades to come.