Like any other city in the Western Hemisphere, Panama City is loaded with Christmas decorations. Everywhere you go, you will find venues elegantly decorated with Christmas themes. The malls are packed with customers carrying all kinds of packages on their hands. The cash boxes are full to the hilt while they ring the money symphony business owners love to listen to. Santa Claus is ubiquitous in his big red chair talking to open-eyed children on his lap.
Christmas carols are played incessantly over large speakers in Spanish and English. Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Arbolito, Noche de Paz are favorites among the Panamanian people. The little baby on the manger is also present in some malls, but not as much as I would like. After all, Christ-Mass is about the birth of Jesus Christ and not about a Ho Ho Santa Claus. But that is the way it is.
Oh, and let us not forget the Christmas tree. We don’t have evergreens in Panama. They are imported from the United States and Canada. We don’t have snow either. Snow is imported from the States in spray cans. Snowmen, artificial snow and evergreen trees are all imported from other countries. I wish we would create our own cultural Christmas season. For example, we have our very own tropical palm trees, why don’t we use them as Christmas trees? But that is the way it is.
Below are some examples of Christmas decorations you will find in Panamanian malls; not much different from what you will see in New York, Los Angeles, London or Paris. Here we go.