Posted in Announcements on December 10, 2010 by Adri
Whether you find yourself in Mexico, Canada or the US this holiday season, the following ideas are good reminders to support you this hectic time of year, and in the process delight your Mexican, Canadian and American guests:
1. First things first: Take time for you, so that you can be truly there for your guests. Get a mani/pedi, and choose something you love to wear ahead of time. You should be comfortable but also a little dressed up as a way to honor your guests. Wear something new, if possible. In Mexico, it is thought to be good luck to wear something new around holiday time – and especially on New Year’s Day – very auspicious – sets the tone for your new year.
2. Plan the gathering in your mind and envision the flow of activity; have a general idea of what will happen when. For example, guests arrive, welcome toast, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, main meal, musical interlude, dessert, presents.
3. Use lots of candles. Nothing creates better ambiance than beautiful candlelight. Humans have had a love affair with fire since its discovery – it’s an archetypal symbol of community, heart, gathering, warmth. Use wall sconces, candles, tapers and even chandeliers to help create a beautiful atmosphere in your home for holiday entertaining. We feature a lovely sconce, a standing “candil” and gorgeous chandeliers on our accessories page.
4. Set your tables, linens, dinnerware, glassware and cutlery at least a day in advance. If you need extras, it’s best to know ahead of time. If you are in Mexico, you can decorate your Mexican home for the holidays using with bright, beautiful colors, large bright paper flowers found in the markets, and you can choose your favorite Mexican nativity set – it can be a family heirloom for many generations to come, reminding you and your family of all your Mexican holiday stories and adventures.
5. Make tried and true dishes (no first-timers) and make them ahead of time if at all possible. This way you can be fairly relaxed the day of the gathering. If you are in Mexico for the holidays, it is a treat to hire someone to make fresh corn tortillas right at your home for the party, and have them available freshly made and oh-so-warm for your guests.
6. Try to have your home cleaned professionally a few days beforehand, so you don’t have to agonize over cleaning as well as all the other details of hosting and entertaining.
7. Hire some help to make sure glasses are replenished, food is warmed, used plates and glasses promptly discarded. Be about your guests rather than running around worrying about the details. If you are in Mexico for the holidays, additional help for a holiday party can be obtained easily and economically.
8. Give a parting gift to your guests – cookies, a votive candle, a small box of chocolates they can take home with them – another way of letting them know “you are important to me.” If you are in Mexico, at least have some small toys available for the children to take with them after the party or gathering. In Mexico, much of Christmas is for the children and they are celebrated and accommodated in a special way.
9. Once you’ve readied yourself for the gathering and have treated yourself like royalty … Treat your guests like royalty.
10. Have a good time. Relax, catch up, and enjoy your own food and drink. A holiday gathering, whether in Canada, Mexico or the US is about connecting with others, sharing in our blessings and celebrating togetherness. When you have a good time at your own party, it makes it so much easier for everybody else to also have fun!
Posted in Mexico Living on November 29, 2010 by Adri
Mexicans love the holidays! In December, the whole country is one big feast. If you are traveling to Mexico this month, or will be spending time in your Mexico condo or vacation property, you are in for a real treat. Mexican culture and hospitality are at their very best this month. Here are some ideas to help you join in the celebrations – a-la Mexicana … the Mexican Way; as well as furniture pieces which help you entertain in style and accommodate last-minute guests.
From December 2 through December 12, Mexicans celebrate their patron Saint, Lady Tonantzin – as the natives have always known her, or Our Lady of Guadalupe. As early as 5am, musicians go to churches to offer their “mananitas a la Virgen.” There are processions, vendors, prayers, gatherings, feasts. I remember staying in Manzanillo one year in early December and every morning being woken up by a procession, heard at a distance, along with chanting, cymbals and drums, while Mexicans paraded Our Lady of Guadalupe through the streets.
December 12 is the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Tonantzin. Millions of Mexican people travel to El Tepeyac, the hill in Mexico City where She appeared to Juan Diego, requesting that a church be built. The story is magnificent, beautiful and inspiring.
On December 16, posadas begin. These are pre-arranged visits to the houses of friends and neighbors. They commemorate the Virgin and St. Joseph traveling asking for a place to stay. Mexicans visit the houses late at night bringing music and song. The third house opens the door, lets them in and offers them food and drink. This goes on until the 23 of December. On the 24th, “The Good Night” or “Noche Buena,” Baby Jesus arrives. There’s more singing and partying, families are together and they attend midnight mass. December 25th is a very quiet day in Mexico; a family holiday and most stores, services and attractions are closed. The tradition is to exchange presents on Three King’s Day in early January.
If you are in Mexico this holiday season, be ready to partake in the events. Markets in Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Mazatlan, Lake Chapala and Puerto Vallarta are abuzz with activity, selling beautiful mangers, bright paper flowers, special foods of the season.
Your Mexican friends and neighbors may not know you want to take part in the events. Tell them! Be ready to welcome people into your house, give gifts to young children, and do partake of “ponche con piquete” if you are offered – this is a warm beverage made of spices and alcohol – and it is rumored to cure a great many number of ailments .
Posted in Mexico Living on October 29, 2010 by Adri
Every year, Mexico hums with excitement, emotion and colorful displays as it celebrates Day of the Dead. In the US and Canada, we are sometimes aware of the custom if we perchance visit Mexico in late October or early November. To the passerby this tradition may seem a bit strange when first encountered, but it is a beautiful feast of love, appreciation, communal healing ... in fact it's the ultimate celebration of life.
Mexican Day of the Dead is celebrated the first 2 days of November, but the atmosphere, preparations and shopping begin 2 weeks before that. You can feel and see the excitement in the markets in Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta, Puebla and Merida, for example. Mexicans begin planning the menus they will serve their dead relatives, buying bright colored paper decorations for the altars, purchasing sugar calaveras in all sizes and various representations of skeletons and dead souls ... in the hope of honoring those who have passed ... those who are still remembered, those invited into their homes to share in the celebration.
Setting up the Mexican Dead of the Dead altar is done in businesses, in Mexico homes, in kitchens, Mexico living rooms and patios. It is a group effort, with families and villages coming together and pitching in with objects, photos, candles, pot luck dishes. The more ornate and beautiful the altar, the higher the likelihood that the dead relatives will notice it, feel invited and feel free to visit the homes to partake in the offerings.
November 1st is the "Velacion de los Angelitos." On this day the focus is the souls of little angels -- children who have passed on. In homes around Mexico, it is not unusual for living children to take the lead on this day and be the hosts of the celebration, the music, the games, the prayers. Like attracts like and the souls of little angels are best called into the Mexican homes by the living children.
November 2nd is the day in which the adult souls that have passed on are honored, feasted, remembered. The objective is to attract the souls of your relatives so that you can show them how much you care and how well they are remembered. The altar is the beacon. A Mexican Day of the Dead altar calls the dead to the home so they can share with their living relatives. This creates good feeling, good relationship and good support from the ancestors. The altar is prepared with love, care and the best offerings. Representations of the 4 elements are placed on the altar: Fire (candles), water (glasses of clear liquid to quench the thirst of the soul), Wind (light, bright colored crepe paper ornaments), and Earth (foods, desserts, the bounty of the Earth). In addition incense made from copal, a sacred tree resin, is burned in order to attract the souls of the deceased and lead them to the homes.
Mexicans visit cemeteries with food, flowers and feasts, as well. They pray, offer food and drink to their dead ones, their ancestors. They bring musicians, they bring their furniture, chairs, benches and they stay a while visiting, sharing, telling stories, honoring.
The result? A deep feeling of satisfaction, peace and harmony. A sense of the continuity of life, the blessing of the ancestors and having done something good for present and future generations.
Posted in Announcements on September 16, 2010 by Adri
Decorating your Mexican home or Mexico vacation rental can be a daunting process, especially if you live in Canada or the United States and you have limited time to spend in Mexico. You want to maximize your time in Mexico, not be stuck in traffic or going from store to store, or trying to find a way to ship furniture to your Mexico home, and worrying through the entire process because you’ve never furnished a home in Mexico before. In order to get an idea about your preferences and budget, you can start by looking through our furniture packages. This will help you decide on what style, what price point, help you begin to think in terms of what you need for each room in your Mexican home.
We understand your time is precious. There may be an element of fear if you’ve never furnished an entire home in Mexico before. We’ve designed this site, our products and our service to meet your needs. We work with you, staying on budget, to come up with options you love for your Mexican property. We work with our artisans to translate your vision into reality and to make your solid pine, parota, mesquite, alder, rattan, marble, stone, glass, wrought iron furniture beautifully and inexpensively.
Along the way we may send you wood samples, fabric samples, furniture drawings, photos. We collaborate with you and even with your Mexico builders, adjusting furniture measurements where necessary to fit your Mexican living room or dining room. We take care of the quality checks, the communication, keeping your furniture order on budget and on schedule. We then coordinate shipping it to your Mexican home. When you arrive in Mexico, your furniture may arrive with you (on that same day), or a day later, or within that week. You tell us when you want it there.
You may think all this is going to be expensive? It is not. We are an inexpensive option for furnishing your Mexico home, especially when you consider the time and travel cost of your going to Mexico to shop, to monitor, to wait … and then worry about it all along the way. We have Mexico furniture options for every budget.
You may think this is too risky, because you can’t see, touch and feel the furniture? We know. But please don’t worry. We've been in business for many years and we have been featured in The New York Times. We want you to be ecstatic about your experience with Gringo Furniture. This is why we provide accurate descriptions, samples, furniture renderings. This is why we work with you on every little detail and question, why we are very serious about finishes, dimensions, feel, textures and wood stains. We have hundreds of satisfied customers who do business with us time and time again. We do not take it lightly. Every new furniture order is an opportunity to provide excellent service and build our referral and customer network.
So, where do you to start? Research online or even Mexico store options and prices. Pay close attention to quality, type of wood, materials. Take a look at our furniture packages on this website to get an idea of your preferences. Call or email us with questions. Ask us for ideas or tell us what you have in mind. Read our testimonials. Don’t hold back. Tell us what furniture you would like in your Mexico dream home. Help us help you to make that vision a reality. And believe us, there is NO fine print here. We want you to be happy with your furniture and we work seriously to make that happen. To give you great service, great options, great prices.
Posted in Announcements on September 15, 2010 by Adri
Today, all of Mexico celebrates its Bicentennial. Most businesses are closed today and tomorrow, and a number of exhibits and commemorative events are taking place from Cabo San Lucas to Ajijic, to Huatulco. Our friends in Guadalajara and Lake Chapala report that Mexico’s small town plazas have been hosting music, dance and processions for many days. Mexican school children are taking part in parades, and it is fiesta time in Mexico. The best Mexican restaurants have prepared unique delicious commemorative menus.
To all our Mexican furniture artisans, friends, suppliers and furniture makers, we say “Thank you, and Feliz Bicentenario!”
On a day like today in 1810, Mexico began fighting for its Independence. At the helm of the movement were Father Miguel Hidalgo and General Ignacio Allende. The struggle would last 11 years, until in 1821 Mexico becomes an independent country.
For us at Gringo Furniture, there’s much to celebrate today. For example, the way Mexico re-awakens us with its colors and designs, its warmth, the kindness of its people. The wonderful friendships we have built with Mexican families, expats living in Mexico, and service-oriented, caring folks. The openness in our minds and hearts that happens every time we visit Mexico. The many opportunities to build, give back and relate … with which Mexico and the Mexican people welcome us time and time again.
Feliz Cumpleanos, Mexico! Que les vaya muuuuy bien.