December 25, 2001

Christmas was interesting.

The "party" started officially about 10 PM, Christmas Eve, and in typical Brazilian fashion, folks came in until about midnight. They started serving appetizers at about 10:30, and desserts were served at about 2 AM. Grandad holds the family together (the former Mayor). He leads a short service with a Christmas message (sermon) for the family at about 11:30 PM. He asked me to speak, and Fay to translate. I suppose there were 10-15 families there. Grandad insists all the family settle by, and eat together at least every other Sunday.

They then eat their big meal. Afterwards, they have a "Secret Friend" gift exchange. Everyone who plans to be at the gathering has their name in a hat, and the names are assigned without the receiver knowing who has his name, a "Secret Friend."

Someone starts the "exchange" by telling enough about the receiver that others can guess who his gift is for. Then the receiver does the same for the one he holds the gift for. It goes on until all gifts are given. Evidently, this is the custom here in giving gifts — "Secret Friend."

Then they had desserts.

I believe the above is the customary way to celebrate Christmas, except maybe for the "church service."

Obviously, everyone then sleeps late Christmas day.

Then today sometime we are going over to an aunt's house for "lunch," made up of leftovers. Bettie took some videos last night.

It rained very hard yesterday afternoon. Bettie said it would not be Christmas in Brazil without a hard rain Christmas Eve. The rain made it almost cool enough to need a long sleeved shirt, but we suffered through.

This morning is perfect temp wise, with some blue sky above, and low humidity.

The house where we were was the daughter's whose husband is a stock broker, which is only about 2 blocks from Fay's. The house is beautiful.

The family members whom we know built their own very nice homes. However, they have taken years to build them, 7-10. They get a couple rooms liveable, move into those rooms, and build the rest of the house as they have the money. I understand that Fay's parents are at the end of an 8 year building process.

I mentioned to Fay's parents that we would like to see Brasilia. Evidently, today may be the only day we can do that, so we will go today. I guess it is about 2 hours from here. I also understand that Brasilia is in desert conditions, with the humidity as low as 13%. They dismiss school there for low humidity.

It is a beautiful day for traveling, and seeing the country.