Mexicans celebrate the birth of Jesus with las Posadas, nine days of preparation during which the story of the Nativity is reenacted each day. These days lead up to Noche Buena (Holy Night) or Christmas Eve. Most families go to mass, then head home for dinner with family and friends. The highlight of the evening is placing Baby Jesus in the manger in the Nativity scene.
To prepare for the celebration, the house is decorated with pottery; bowls of fruit; brightly colored paper ornaments; colorful confetti; tinsel-trimmed maracas; star-shaped piñatas filled with oranges, tangerines, peanuts, and candy canes; red, green, and silver tablecloths; small lanterns and candles; and, of course, a Nativity scene.
The spread for Feliz Navidad includes:
Roast turkey, ham, or suckling pig
Stuffed chili peppers
Wild greens in mole sauce
Atole (beverage made from corn)
Chili con queso with chips
Guacamole with flakes of red bell pepper "confetti"
Ensalada de Navidad (Christmas fruit salad)
Sidra (sparkling cider)
Chocolate atole (cinnamon hot chocolate)
Ponche con piquete (hot punch of fruits and cinnamon sticks)