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    David James Archuleta (born December 28, 1990) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. At ten years old, he won the children's division of the Utah Talent Competition leading to other television singing appearances.[6] When he was twelve years old, Archuleta became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2.[6] In 2007, at sixteen years old, he became one of the youngest contestants on the seventh season of American Idol.[7] In May 2008 he finished as the runner-up, receiving 44 percent of over 97 million votes.

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Christmas, Chilean Style ~ David Archuleta

Posted by bebereader on Thursday, December 27, 2012


There was something missing from Christmas this year. Or should I say, someone. David has been a part of the Christmas holiday for the last four years, beginning with the Jingle Ball concerts, then at the Christmas From The Heart Tour, next MoTab and last year, at the My Kind of Christmas Tour. There was no concert to go to this year, no videos on you tube to wait up for and no concert recaps to anticipate. I have no choice but to make do with the treasures he left us in the way of his Christmas cds and videos on youtube.

This year, Elder Archuleta spent Christmas in Chile. I hope he had a Merry Christmas, spent in a loving home, with delicious food and with friends by his side. But I can’t help wonder what Christmas is like, Chilean style. Do the Chileans celebrate the same way we do? If not, how different is Christmas in Chile from Christmas back home in the USA?

Unlike in North America and Europe where Christmas is celebrated in the winter, the 25th of December comes in the middle of summer in Chile because it is in the Southern hemisphere. Chileans could be found lazing by a rooftop pool under the sun rather than sipping eggnog by the fireplace or baking cookies to keep their kitchens warm like we do here.

Christmas_treeChristmas Tree and Decorations
Like we do, Chilean families get their homes ready for this holiday by decorating. They put up Christmas trees, decorations and balloons. The decorative themes seem more religious based with Nativity scenes being a common feature. No matter what their social class, Chileans celebrate Christmas by making pesebres (Nativity scenes) weeks before Christmas. The traditional Chilean Christmas tree is decorated with baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the shepherds and animals with the three wise men. Chileans display their pesebre in their front yard to welcome visitors and in an entire room of their home if space provides.Gifts are placed under the Christmas tree and exchanged and opened at midnight on Christmas Eve.

Church Services
With 70% of the population Catholic, Christmas is the most religious holiday of the year in Chile. The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is at the focal point with church services held every day during the length of the season. Many Chileans stay up late to sing traditional Christmas carols and to read the accounts of the birth of the baby Jesus from the Bible. The nine-day novena that starts the actual holiday is held with great importance. The main gathering point for families on La Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) is midnight mass “Misa del Gallo”).

Family Dinner
Following midnight mass is a big family dinner held on Christmas Eve instead of our Christmas Day, with children, paPan de Pascuarents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins gathered together to celebrate. In Chile, the custom is that three generations live under one roof and homes are handed down to children by their parents. Turkey, beef and other meats are served, with traditional Chilean foods and potatoes, rice and vegetables. Pudding is a Christmas dessert favorite in Chile as is a fruitcake called “Pan de Pascua“, the Chilean Christmas cake. Chile is known for it’s red wine which is used to toast the season along with a traditional drink called “Cola de Mano” or “Monkey’s Tail”, similar to our eggnog, and made with a liquor called aguardiente, coffee, milk, sugar, cinnamon and egg yolks. 

chile-christmas-2008-12-5-10-4-56 Santa/Presents
The holiday is especially dedicated to children who open their presents at the strike of midnight or close to it. In Chile, Santa Claus is known as “Viejito Pascuero“, or ‘Old Man Christmas”.  The kids call him “Papa Noel” and he travels by sleigh with reindeer to deliver toys to children. Since fireplaces are rare in Chile, Papa Noel must climb through windows to make his deliveries. An interesting Nochebuena custom is to allow kids to stay  up or be woken up at midnight, then to take them out for a walk to see if they can spot Papa Noel and his reindeer, delivering presents.

Christmas Day
In Chile, Christmas Day is more relaxed than in North America or Europe. Families engage in outdoor sports activities like surfing, flying kites and rock climbing. Others go as spectators. It’s a time to enjoy the holiday, visit friends and family, enjoy gifts, play with new toys, or head to the pool or beach to cool off and enjoy nature.

So basically, the Chileans celebrate Christmas in many ways like North Americans. They have the same idea of a Santa who drives a sleigh with reindeer and delivers toys to children. Catholics go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. They decorate their trees, hang stockings, spend time with family and have big feasts. The entire holiday season ends as it begins, by paying homage, with prayer to their Lord Jesus Christ, who is central to the Chileans’ way of  life.

Elder Archuleta singing Noche Divina (Oh Holy Night) in Chile

23 Responses to “Christmas, Chilean Style ~ David Archuleta”

  1. marlie7 said

    Bebe – thank you for the interesting information! I was thinking about Christmas in Chile, also, especially because of Magdalena being with us this year. At about 10 PM on Christmas Eve, she called home (it was midnight there). We got to “meet” her family on her iPhone via Skype and see them all together eating, laughing, getting ready to open presents, just as you said.

    One last funny thing – Magdalena got me a little extra present and marked it “To Marlie, From David” hahaha It was a water bottle with a custom label – David is My Angel. Do you think she gets me? Oh, yeah! She and I watched videos of David for a little while and then she told me she is a fan of Charice. I broke out the video of David and Charice singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” a few years back and we both had fun laughing about that connection between us.

    Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I’m wondering how I’m going to put away the (David) Christmas music – maybe I won’t!


  2. mspoohbear said

    Thanks Bebe for your description of Chilean Xmas. It is celebrated the same in Filipino culture, maybe because of Spanish and Catholic influences. We go to midnight mass (Misa de Gallo) then feast in bountiful meal all through the night called “Noche Buena”, then open Xmas presents (for kids’ delight) or exchange gifts (usually adults do this) depending on the family tradition. We might even include Karaoke singing in there, too! LOL! Xmas is the most awaited Holiday in Filipino culture, then seconded by New Year celebration welcomed with a big bang of fireworks which starts at dusk on the eve and lasts sometimes until dawn on the 1st.

    I’ve never spent Xmas away from my family, so when I think of Elder Archuleta being away from his family on Xmas day kind of makes me sad. Although I know he misses his family, I am also sure that he is enjoying the the most of his experiences. Who knows, he might bring back home and introduce new Xmas traditions to his family…or incorporate in his future Xmas concerts for us all to enjoy! My X’mas wish… see and hear David sing at his concert in 2014!


  3. mlpb3 said

    Bebe – This is very interesting! Fun to see how other countries celebrate Christmas. Its hard to imagine a summer Christmas, but I guess its what you are used to. I’m sure Elder Archuleta enjoyed himself this year! 🙂 Martha


  4. Thanks Bebe for your research and article on Christmas in Chile. It was so nice that David still got to Sing in the Devotionals and that they released songs for us to enjoy. We have so many memories to cherish which I really treasure. I appreciate you and the rest of theVoice and other fan sites who show David such respect. Only 1 more Christmas until David returns 🙂 (had to get that in there)


  5. poof said

    Christmas in Chile sounds all kinds of warm! Thanks for the research Bebe. Really enjoying his concierto music.

    I was noticing Deseret books has David’s and all the other Christmas Program DVD and CDs on sale. I also noticed David had only 5 reviews and since one was negative (they liked David but not the program), he isn’t getting the full 5 Stars he deserves. How about a few of us sending in a few of our wonderful over the top reviews to pop it up to five like it rightly deserves.

    Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful holiday season!


  6. MT said

    You are a fountain of information. LOL I love that you do so much research on David’s new location and then fill the rest of us in. I can’t imagine a Christmas Day surfing or pool side. Cold/cool weather and Christmas just naturally go together. It will certainly be different for him. I hope some lovely Chilean family took them in to share their Christmas festivities and traditions. (Although the spiked drinks are probably off the list of things he’ll enjoy. LOL) But I hope he found a way to make it joyful and meaningful and took part in some of the traditions there.

    He must surely have had his phone call home, too. 🙂


  7. bebereader said

    How cool that you got to meet Magdalena’s family through Skype. She seems like such a kind-hearted, loving person. She even caters to your ODD. What a blessing to have in a future daughter in law! 🙂 Yes I think she gets you, fine! LOL

    LOL Thanks for authenticating my research! Filipino Christmas sounds like loads of fun, just like that of the Chileans. I love doing research so it was no problema. And, like you, I hope David incorporates some of the Christmas fun he had in Chile into his future Christmas concerts when gets back to the states. I, for one, missed his Feliz Navidad this year.

    credit gengen

    Hey Martha,
    Thanks! It was hard for me to imagine a summer Christmas too, until I read all about Christmas in Chile. LOL

    “Only 1 more Christmas until David returns 🙂 (had to get that in there)”

    We can do it! #DA2014

    Thanks for the tip about the review on Deseret. Will get on the case.

    I think it would be hard for anyone to be without family on Christmas and their birthday but you’re right in that David probably found a way to make it joyful. And it makes me feel good to know that he must have had his phone call home.


  8. betsy said

    Bebe, thanks for the informative article. 🙂
    I love reading about different cultures and their traditions. The food, the music, the actual celebration. Also, I love reading about different traditions in families.
    Marlie, I really like this Magdalena. How sweet of her!
    Mspoohbear – thanks for the info on Filipino traditions. I really never get enough of this information!

    Mine starts early, decorating the house and tree while listening to CFTH, around the end of November. Every ornament on the tree has some meaning for us. I take forever to decorate, I always end up yelling to my husband or kids ‘REMEMBER THIS ONE? YOU MADE IT IN PRESCHOOL” or something like that. 🙂
    I also have pretty little dreidels on my tree. I like them. I like to think about where I bought my little glass icicles, at Hudsons, my all time favorite store (it closed in 1998, you can read about it here if you are so inclined lol)

    I guess it’s really all about spending time with those you love, and if you can’t be with them (I couldn’t see my daughter this Christmas), then a phone call is a beautiful thing. The food doesn’t really matter (usually turkey or ham) the presents don’t really matter, it can all change.
    You know what really made my day? (a bit of a Christmas miracle) My son, the Iraq war vet who has – issues – was sitting on the couch smiling, happy, joking with his 3 small nieces cuddled up next to him. They adore him. And the feeling is mutual. (he has issues with loud noises, but not at all with them) Very healing.
    Sorry this turned into a novel about our Christmas, it was not intended, it just happened.


  9. Abrra said

    Thanks Bebe for the article. It sounds like there is a fine mix of culture and religion at Christmastime in Chile. I agree that it is hard to wrap one’s head around summertime Christmas.


    I thought about Elder Archuleta Skyping with his family. I hope they had sufficient time to spend with all who were there. He has such a large family.

    Abrra 456 days

    It’s 9:33pm 74 degrees and Clear in Santiago


  10. tawna21 said

    Bebe, how fun is this!!! 🙂 It’s always a treat to read your “brochures” about different customs… always David related, to be sure (imagine that), but that’s what makes them sooo good. 😉 And I like the pictures and of course the videos. Interesting… fruitcake!! haha

    I, too, found myself wondering about how Elder Archuleta spent the day. I would imagine that a family invited he and his companion for dinner and fun. That’s usually what happens.

    Betsy, I cannot send enough hugs to your Iraq vet son! ♥♥ I sincerely hope that with time he will be able to heal completely.

    Abrra, I want (no I really need) 74 degrees and clear…….I’m f.r.r.e.e.e.e.z.i.n.g!!!!!



  11. djafan said

    Bebe, thank you for tackling and making these glimpses into all David related cultural experiences such a fun read, he’s probably living them all in some form. These are very similar to my Latino celebrations as I’m sure they”re not to different from what David is used to or most of us for that matter. Imagine the excitement to get to skype with his family, so happy for him.

    We used to stay up until midnight, do the mass, and open our presents and eat all on Christmas eve. With the family growing so much and some of us are a little older (trouble staying up lol) we switched to Christmas day with tamales, pozole, and all the side dishes imaginable. Playing games and telling stories. Great times and memories celebrating the birth of Christ.

    Winnie! When I was young I remember the singing I need to incorporate that back in and introduce the younger generations 🙂

    Betsy, love your sharing and encouraged me to do the same. Hope for great days for your son and complete healing.

    The past three Christmases involved planning road trips to David concerts and had my sad moments but what an unexpected surprise that we got Elder Archuleta for Christmas. Filled the empty spot with joy the way only David can.

    Love his joy when he sings Los Pastores.


  12. djafan said

    Get ready to trend!!!! Happy Birthday David Archuleta World Wide Trended today for some time and has been trending in parts of Asia all day long since it’s been the 28th there already. So get ready to trend at a moments notice, not sure of the time. Some say 7pm Utah time, 8pm eastern time, midnight Chile time lol. Everyone is excited so keep eyes open. We want a worldwide birthday celebration for our special young man 🙂 The tweet is : Happy Birthday David Archuleta , include @davidarchie in your tweets to reach all his followers.



  13. stenocruiser said

    It’s midnight in Santiago ! Happy Birthday, dear David !!!!


  14. djafan said

    TRENDING NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  15. TXNancy said

    Sorry for the sad news but thought you’d want to know that Pabuckie’s mother passed away tonight. Here’s the link to sign a group card:


  16. gladys1961 said

    Girls, I I was talking with Sister Viviana, David’s partner in the choir. She did not know that today is the birthday of david, I gave all the information I could. She will see David tomorrow, every Friday the elders play soccer.
    I send my greetings to the elders that I knew and asked her to give him a happy birthday to Elder Archuleta from of women of chocolates, Argentina hahahahah.
    She gave me permission to send chocolates or gifts to all the elders, the Centro Jas de Rancagua.
    Maybe his teammates did not know David’s Birthday, now they know it and hopefully make some celebration for him.
    Very soon I will send a box of gifts, if any of you want to send a message, I’ll be happy to send it in the box.
    Here in “The Voice” have my e-mail. The girls sent me messages so I can print them.
    When the shipment is ready, I’ll tell you.
    Mission accomplished again.


  17. fenfan said

    Happy Birthday David! Love that pix (right sidebar) of him under the umbrella. I want to be the sweat wiper.
    Interesting info about Christmas in Chile – thanks Bebe. We usually have a big feast on the eve – turkey, ham, beef and all sorts of side dishes, plus cake and tart etc for afters – lol – we are a big family and we love to eat!


  18. tawna21 said

    dja, is the trend party tomorrow?


  19. djafan said

    Thank you Nancy for the link and prayer go out to Pabuckie for her loss.

    Tawna trending party started this morning and he’s trended 3 times today. It’s to continue tomorrow.


  20. jans11 said

    Bebe, great information! One of my mottos is “to learn something new everyday”. And I sure do, just by reading the good info that you guys post! It would be a very interesting Christmas in hot weather since I was born and raised in Kansas City! I know it is very different for David too, since he’s from Utah and it’s so cold there at Christmas. I also hope that he had a very nice Christmas with a nice family sharing with him.

    Everytime I hear David sing “O Holy Night” in Spanish I can’t believe how good he is…even though I’ve heard it a million times! 🙂

    Betsy, bless your son! Don’t ever be sorry for your novel. I love to read everyone’s stories. That’s what makes it interesting. ♥

    Gladys, will try and get a message to the Voice emails for you to send to David.

    Hope David had a great day talking or skyping with all his family. The time probably flew by with them all talking at once!

    Happy 22nd birthday David!!!!!!!!!!!


  21. bebereader said

    Dreidels on your Christmas Tree? LOL Thanks for sharing your Christmas traditions. I always wanted a big family! Holiday time with big families is like a party all the time.
    Hudson’s must be Midwest-based. Yes, I just checked your Wikipedia link…it originated in Detroit. We don’t or didn’t have one in New York. So many stores have gone out of business. We’re left with the big department stores which are fine but I love local smaller stores too. We have a store called Fortunoff’s here in NY. I bet you never heard of it. LOL
    I like the picure you painted of your son and his three nieces. Sending blessings to him this holiday season; he is nothing short of our hero.

    Sounds good! I hope Elder Archuleta and his companion did just what you said; got invited to a family’s home for Christmas food and fun. I could go with some of Chile’s 74 degree weather too. Seems winter is here to stay, for now. We’ve already got icy roads in NY with more snow on the way.

    Thank you for bringing the link here to sign Pabuckie’s groupcard. I signed it. 😦

    Kudos to you for keeping in touch with Sister Viviana. Is Christmas in Argentina similar to Christmas in Chile?

    Hey Fen,
    Thanks for the description of your Christmas!

    Regarding Oh Holy Night, I’ve always loved the English version. Now we have the Spanish version for it to compete with. Ayayay what a dilemna. Which it listen to? They are both excellent. LOL Thanks for your comment. 🙂

    We have a new article!

    Happy 22nd Birthday, Elder Archuleta! —————->>>>


  22. bluesky said

    Dear Bebereader…

    I finally got slowed down enough to really read! I could see, through you, a very complete picture of what Christmas in Chile might be like. Thank you so much for the time you took to do this. I love learning about new places and people. Especially when someone you care about is actually there, seeing, meeting and experiencing life with those people.

    I don’t think I would make it until midnight to eat, open gifts, go to church, etc!! I am too late with everything! I even got up at a3.30 Christmas morning to finish wrapping a few things. *_*

    Betsy… if you come back to this article to check things out… I feel for you and your son. “Issues” can be so difficult, but I am glad for you that he is there, in your home and able to be with family. Healing. Love. And light to you all.


  23. emmegirl14 said

    Betsy.. after all your son has been through, his light still shines. Blessings to your family.


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