artist advent calendar : patricia zapata

Hello everyone I'm Patricia from A Little Hut. I'm a graphic designer and crafter that lives in Houston, Texas with my husband and two children (9 and 6). I am American born but my family and my husband are all from Colombia and we’re Catholic—so our traditions mostly revolve around those two things.

I really enjoy working on the tree because it really signals the start of the season. I'm always the “lights person” (which I secretly love) and everyone jumps in with the ornaments. When we first started decorating our tree (before the kids) I was stuck on the straw/red color combination but as time has passed our tree is getting more colorful. The changes come from the ornaments that have been given to us as gifts or that the kids have chosen or made themselves.

Putting together a pesebre (manger scene) is a huge Colombian tradition. We also pray the Christmas novena every night starting December 16th and ending on December 24th. Part of the novena includes singing Christmas carols called villancicos accompanied by bells, maracas, tambourines, small drums and any other simple percussion instruments we have on hand. The kids love assigning us our instruments.

I love watching the kids sing Christmas carols at school every year. I made the star in the photo (balsa wood covered with fabric) six years ago when my son was 4 and the school has used it for Journey ever since. Journey, is a singing presentation by all grades from Kindergarten to 5th grade that starts with the Annunciation and ends in the Nativity scene. Every group sets up a little stage area, it's all done outside (weather permitting) and people walk around in groups in tour fashion. At a Catholic school this is obviously one of the most special nights of the year.

Eating close to midnight on Christmas eve is another one of our traditions. Since we are the only ones in my family with kids we have been hosting the gathering for the past several years. This is a photo, taken a couple of years ago, right before everyone dug into a traditional meal of ajiaco (a Colombian chicken and potato soup).

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!

Thank you Patricia for sharing your lovely family traditions with us today. I hope you enjoy your very special celebrations together at Christmas this year!