Christmas Eve Ecuadorian Style

We were lucky to be able to spend Christmas Eve with our relatives in Portoviejo. We knew ahead that Leo was going to be Santa and I was going to be the Fairy Godmother. I had to wear white and Leo could not fit into the Santa outfit, so he wore a red shirt and a santa hat and the beard. We took a cab to the home of Pierina and Christian where the party was being held. We got there about 6:00 PM. We saw their house and how it was decorated. It was very similar to a North American house.












She had a Christmas tree. There were decorations around the house. The table had Christmas china on the table.



We went out back on the patio where they had an outdoor kitchen which I loved. (Always wanted one). I helped heat up some chicken pieces that were made with a sauce. The pieces were the back, neck, liver, wings, and feet. When they were heated, we ate. We had the chicken, cheese, and bread. I wasn’t sure which chicken piece to choose, so I picked one and then realized I picked the chicken foot. I ate it and it was good, because the sauce was very good. There was some meat on it, but not that much. This was just a snack, because we were going to have the real dinner at midnight.



Afterwards, we blew up red, green and white balloons. I had a hand pump to blow them up. By the end of it, my hand and arm were killing me. Leo tied the knots on the balloons and Olayita put them in groups of three and hung them around the patio area. Then Olayita washed dishes and I dried.









Soon a few people came, friends who live in Quito now, but used to live in Portoviejo. Later the family began to arrive little by little. I guess everyone was there by 8:00. Everyone sat around and talked and drank scotch whiskey-the drink of Ecuador at $78.00 a bottle. I brought white wine which I drank and later realized that Olayita had bought some wine. At some point, the program started.







Leo was introduced as Santa and I was presented as the Godmother and was provided a wand, hat, and banner.











Then Leo passed out the gifts to the kids and one for each family.

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Then they did the reenactment of  the Nativity. Olayita read the story and each person came out. By this time some of  the wise men were not so wise, but tipsy, so the decorum of the moment may have been lost.


Next, we did the present activity. We had each brought 2 presents, one was supposed to be over $1.00 and the other over $5.00. They were put in the center of the group and each person rolled large cardboard dice. You had to get a 6 on a dice. If you got one 6 you took one present if you got 2 6’s you got to pick 2 presents. If you did not roll the 6, then you did not get to pick a present. This went around the circle until all the presents were gone. Then they set a 15 minute time limit to continue rolling the dice. If you got a 6 or 2 6’s you still picked presents but from others that had more than one. At this point I had 4 presents. On my next roll I got a 6 again and I still got to steal a present, but by the end of the 15 minutes, I was down to 1 as was Leo. It was really fun and everyone loved the stealing part. We had brought the biggest present, so everyone wanted it. It made the rounds around the circle getting stolen often. At the end of 15 minutes everyone opened their present or presents.

At midnight, everyone went around and hugged and kissed each other and wished each other Feliz Navidad. Then it was time for dinner, so the food was put out. Each person made something for the dinner. We were assigned the soda and the cakes which they bought for us since we don’t live in Portoviejo and we just paid them later. We all helped pay for the whiskey. For food they had  rice, pork, turkey, potato salad and a few other things. It was all very good. After that, they decided to firm up plans for the New Year’s Eve Party that they are holding at our house. There was much discussion about this and nothing was decided. Some were concerned that there would be no place for the kids to sleep when they got tired. We only have on spare bed and Olayita and Colon are staying there. Some suggested mattresses to be put on the floor of one of our empty rooms. Then they debated dinner vs appetizer. Dinner won. Then they debated free music from one brother’s sound system or hire a DJ. They said to find out the cost first. Then they debated the way to split the cost family vs per person. Not sure how that turned out. Actually they did not come to any conclusions as far as I know. Olayita is supposed to come over Sunday to give us the plans.

We went to bed at 2:00 AM. We slept at their house. We heard that everyone left about 1/2 hour later. We got up about 9:00 the next morning. We had breakfast of instant coffee (big here in Ecuador), bread, and cheese. We had a special Christmas bread that had fruit in it. It was good.  I washed the dishes. Then we left for home, but we had one stop at Olayita’s son, Christian’s house. He and his family had not been at the party, because they had partied with his wife, Karen’s family, who were visiting from Guayaquil. We stayed at their house for about an hour and then we had to leave, because we had to get home to go to an expat party in Crucita at 3:00.

Video of the evening:



  1. Very interesting to see how Christmas is celebrated in another country, I especially liked rolling the dice to pick a present etc, maybe something we should think of for next Christmas

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