Just as children excitedly venture door to door through darkened neighborhoods on bone-chilling journeys to solicit Halloween treats, the youth of Northern New Mexico used to participate in a similarly enthralling tradition on Christmas morning — and the macabre was most definitely not the reason. Instead, these niños were partaking in a Christmas Day tradition known to many elder norteños as Mis Crismes, which oftentimes was just as exciting to the rural homeowners as it was for the children.
“Mis Crismes was real common here in the Pojoaque Valley,” said Gail Martinez, who grew up practicing the now mostly obsolete tradition with her siblings while growing up in the Jacona area in the 1950s and ‘60s. “We would get up early on Christmas morning and walk for miles and miles and miles to all the neighbors’ houses and sing Christmas carols. We were invited in.
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