Christmas Tamales: This Festive Food is the Center of Holiday Attention

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Tony Maples Photography


Throughout the Lone Star State and in many homes across the southwest, it’s just not Christmas without tamales. While many people in the north are swarming the malls from Black Friday onward, many in Texas are lining up to order (or learn how to make) their Christmas tamales.

These tasty delights consisting of corn masa and meat or cheese are like individually wrapped gifts of sustenance. Families all over Texas look forward to their steamed corn husks filled with delicious food… translation: love. In reality, a food tradition is a celebration. Families come together to make tamales, eat them together, and celebrate the season with them. They’re traditionally a part of Las Posadas – the celebration commemorating Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter prior to the birth of Jesus – which generally is recognized from December 16 through 24. Over the years of families coming together to make this festive food in honor of this event, the term “tamalada” was coined – for the gathering of those who make the tamales. It was recognized as more of a social event than labor-intensive. An example of the process is provided here in the video below.

Video: YouTube/Spanish Girl

For those looking to make their orders, it’s understood that places throughout Texas which are known for good tamales will have lineups. But for many, it’s worth it. Featured on the Spanish Girl Youtube channel, the video version above is merely a taste of what’s required in the process. It can be a tremendous amount of fun and a great time for families and friends to share, talk about, and most definitely laugh over. So, whether it’s the tradition of eating your Christmas tamales, or the concept of getting the family together to make them, this food is at the heart of many a holiday celebration, many a heartfelt gathering, and always the center of attention!