02 January 2011

La Villa de Santa Georgina

Before I let the holiday slip away by I want to tell you about "La Villa de Santa Georgina". When I was a little boy in Chicago my great aunts Harrieta, Flavia, and Pelagia (Hattie, Flo, and Peggy) used to make a Christmas village every year at the base of the Christmas tree behind and to the sides of the nativity scene. The village that they made was quite detailed and spread out around base of the tree like a tiny community. Later on my sisters Suzanne (Suzy) and Kathryn (Kathy) carried on the tradition and Suzy's Christmas village in particular is realistic to the point of being spectacular. Of course, when my wife Gina learned about this she wanted one too and it just so happened that I came across some little ceramic houses of the Christmas style at Waldo's for only fifteen pesos each and I ended up buying a couple dozen. Then I made a little platform to hold the village and I covered it with unicél (oo-nee-SELL) which is what Styrofoam is called here in Mexico. I painted a background on a piece of plywood and attached it to the base. The whole thing sits below the counter of the arched divider that separates our kitchen area from our living room.

The name that I gave the village, "Santa Georgina", I took from real life. Gina's first name is actually "Georgina" and whenever she and her mother Carmelita start picking on me I start singing the litany of the saints in Latin in the old Gregorian chant style:

Sancta Georgina, ora pro nobis.
Saint Georgina, pray for us.

Sancta Carmelita, ora pro nobis.
Saint Carmelita, pray for us.

Ab omni malo, libera nos, Dómine.
From all evil, deliver us oh Lord.

This is just to remind them that they really aren't saints...YET!! I had a lot of fun working on this little project and I never really finished it because for one thing, I had too many supervisors. Fortunately, a good thing about Christmas is that "si Dios quiere" (if God is willing), it will come again next year and I can work on the village some more. My sisters have been working on theirs for almost forty years and they tell me that they are never quite finished. I guess the only time that when you are truly finished building a Christmas village is when you die. Anyway, I am pleased with the results so far even though it is one of the most eclectic Christmas villages that I have ever seen. That's okay though because everyone here seems to like it...especially "Santa" Georgina.

(Click to enlarge)
"And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, 'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!'."


Brenda said...

Very nice. Cute touch of Santa and reindeer flying in front of the moon.
There is one other time when you finish a village such as this--when you move countries lol.
Years ago my mom started us all out on our villages by giving us all 1 different house every year for Christmas. Each one was different and had a small Christmas bulb light inside. Every year I added things to it like pulled apart cotton balls or quilt batting for snow, and other little touches like people, trees,etc.. I found that the stores that catered to model railway aficionados had lots of little things that were perfect for this village. It grew and grew over the years and eventually we added a train set going around the outside of it and it was on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood when I left Canada. Too much to move and so it got left behind in Canada.
It was fun and turned into a Christmas tradition setting it up and looking for new things to add to it.
Enjoy yours, I am sure it will expand every year also.

Bob Mrotek said...

I challenge you to start over! You know that you have it in your blood. I guarantee that your Mexican village will be much different than your Canadian village and it will bring you new artistic opportunities :)

Gloria said...

Very nice Bob. Mine is very small. I would be afraid that if I started adding, I would end up with so many different saints, reindeer, etc that I probably would be too lazy to take it down. I love yours. Great tradition.

Leslie Limon said...

La Villa de Santa Georgina is lovely! Two of my concuñas set up very elaborate nacimientos for Christmas every year. I think they are beautiful pieces of art and wish that I could create one. I purchased a small nacimiento a couple of years ago and am slowly adding to it. Hopefully one day, mine will look somewhat like Villa de Santa Georgina. :)

On Mexican Time said...

Love it!! Great photos!!

Happy New Year and all the best in 2011 :)

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Bob, I am afraid that is one challenge I will have to ignore because of space reasons alone. We live in a very small apartment and I have nowhere to set one up and also nowhere to store it for the rest of the year. Unfortunate but true.
I will just have to enjoy others vicariously.
It would be so much fun building one here though.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.