11 Ways To Decorate You Holiday Table With Latino-Themed Decorations That Don’t Break The Bank

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The holidays either bring out the worst in people or the very best. There’s the stress of finding the perfect gifts, planning and hosting parties, and the idea of traveling to visit family during the craziest time to travel.

If you keep in mind, however, that the holiday season is meant to be with loved ones and celebrate all of your blessings, then it will put everything in perspective. Besides, holiday stress can easily be fixed with some fine tequila.

If you’re hosting any holiday event this season and you’d like to spruce it up by doing away with the basic Christmas or New Year’s Eve decoration, you can easily glam it up in a Latino-themed style. Why Latino-themed? Because velas, piñatas, and Frida instantly make people happy.

Here are some ideas for your holiday table that will make your guests ooh and ahh, no doubt.

Use any Latin-brand can as a vase.

CREDIT: Pinterest

We already recycle cans and jars thanks to our abuelas teaching us to. Use those cans and create a unique table setting by adding an eclectic array of your favorite canned Latin goods and using them as vases. The table will instantly have a pop of color and your guests might feel some nostalgia seeing the various cans from their childhoods.

Papel picado as mistletoe.

CREDIT: Love and Cupcakes

Convert any typical holiday decor, like mistletoe, with colorful papel picado. You can hang them around, and also place them bunched together at the center of each table. It’s a colorful and unexpected way to change things up with just a little bit of effort.

Red hot chili wreaths and/or candle holders.

CREDIT: Wind and Weather

If you’re not interested in buying dozens upon dozens of red chili peppers to decorate, you can buy fake ones pretty easily. These might look like a little too much but everyone will remember the amazing way you used chili peppers for your holiday decor.

Ribbons and flowers in the colors of your flag.

CREDIT: Pinterest

Being Mexican makes this one super easy since the color scheme is the same but you can always add some ribbons to your poinsettias. Give your guests and familia a little something special with the colors of your family’s flag all over the place.

A sarape table cloth.

CREDIT: Pinterest

By replacing a random tablecloth with a sarape, you can quickly transform the vibe from a boring holiday party to a poppin’ fiesta. Simple. Cheap. Cultural.

Extra sarape material? Use it as stocking name cards.

CREDIT: Instagram

Cut a stocking pattern on cardboard or poster board and wrapping it with sarape material. Then write people’s names on the white portion, and bam! Instant name cards.

Create festive cornhusks for coasters, candle holders and/or wreaths.

CREDIT: Instagram

Click here for a YouTube tutorial that shows how to make these cute cornhusk decorations. Just remember to wrap your color ribbon as well. There is something so special about seeing handmade decorations.

Nacimiento centerpieces are guaranteed to please.

CREDIT: Instagram

This particular centerpiece may seem a little complicated but it’s just an example of how to craft any sort of arrangement. This nacimiento can easily be recreated at your local Color Me Mine. You can also get an inexpensive basket and put your nativity scene inside and place them as centerpieces, this way people can take them home!

Concha coasters or ornaments.

CREDIT: Instagram

These conchas, made out of felt (which you can get at your local craft store), can be created to use as coasters! For an extra flair use glitter to make them more festive.

A bottle of tequila, a couple of poinsettias, and a sarape runner.

CREDIT: Instagram

This table setting looks stunning and can be easily replicated. Aside from the bottle of tequila, which you’ll need anyway, and the poinsettias, you can add your favorite Latin candy, candles, and a Latin-themed runner.

La Virgen de Guadalupe velas and mini-candles.

CREDIT: Instagram

The table setting above may look like it’s ready to celebrate Day of the Dead, but it can certainly work for the holidays. All you have to do is replace the orange flowers, with red roses, or poinsettias. Then adorn the center of the table with Virgen de Guadalupe velas that you can get at the grocery store or just click here.

Good luck, and happy holidays!

READ: Texas Family Puts On Holiday Show With 100,000 Lights And Music By Selena And ‘Coco’

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Latinos Are Growing In Numbers In The Buddhist Faith And There Are A Few Reasons For The Trend


Latinos Are Growing In Numbers In The Buddhist Faith And There Are A Few Reasons For The Trend

For many Latinos, religion is a touchy subject. Whether it’s growing up in a Catholic household or being brought up Christian, many find themselves questioning religion altogether. That may be why there is a growing number of Latinos seeking other venues of religion, notably Buddhism. According to the Pew Research Center, Latinos are 12 percent of the American Buddhist community and has seen rising numbers specifically among millennials. But why Latinos and why now?

Many people seek Buddhism as an alternative to other religions because of the freedom you get to find yourself spiritually.

Buddhism was introduced to the United States near the beginning of the 20th century, but over the past 30 years or so, Buddhism has crept into the cultural consciousness of many in the U.S. The basic concept of Buddhism is learning to accept life and find fulfillment within oneself through various forms of prayer and meditation. Rev. Jon Turner, a minister at the Orange County Buddhist Church (OCBC), says many young people, particularly Latinos, are seeking new alternatives compared to what they are accustomed to, like Catholicism. He says Buddhism also has many similarities to Protestant practices like readings and use of candles.

“When I think of Buddhism, I see it as an alternative if you don’t feel like you fit in other practices,” Turner says. “What many people like about Buddhism is that we don’t have a lot of rules about how you should live your life and many like that freedom.”

Buddhist organizations are reaching out to new communities, which has resulted in more diverse temples.

CREDIT: Akuppa John Wigham / Flickr

Turner and the OCBC have made efforts to reach out to new groups of people in the community which in return has seen a growing and changing demographics at the church. The historically Japanese temple in Orange County has grown increasingly diverse, Turner estimates one-quarter of OCBC congregants are not Japanese. He says over the years he’s seen more Japanese couples marrying outside their communities which has resulted in more diverse families.

“A lot of the families in the area are growing increasingly diverse which is opening up Buddhism to new communities,” Turner says. “It’s gaining popularity in the U.S. and our outreach shows that many are converting either at a younger age or in their late 30’s and 40’s.”

Turner is an example of this conversion as he began following Buddhism at 38 years old. He says he’s heard countless similar stories of people who convert to Buddhism when they’re looking for something new. The OCBC has helped many young and older groups of people when it comes to learning and converting to the practice of Buddhism.

The church primarily operates in English, unlike other Buddhist temples in Orange County that serve older immigrant communities and conduct services in languages such as Chinese or Vietnamese. Turner says having the services in English is key in breaking through to a fourth-generation Japanese person and a Latino coming to the temple for their first time.

For some, Buddhism is a perfect balance between self-learning and religious empowerment.

CREDIT: Tharum Bun / Flickr

Hector Ortiz, who grew up Baptist, faced struggles as a gay man because of his church’s teachings on sexuality. When he looked more into Buddhism he found more similarities between his Mexican heritage and Japanese culture. Ortiz said both religions are family-oriented which helped him when he started attending the OCBC more than a decade ago.

“For me, spiritually, what makes sense is that I’m responsible for my own actions and how I interpret the world, [as] opposed to looking to others for happiness or seeking it outward,” Ortiz told the LA Times. “I was drawn to the personal responsibility, seeking happiness inward and the acceptance. It felt like a place I was arriving home to, spiritually. It was a nice crossover for me.”

Buddhism is growing across the country which means new generations are practicing and spreading the religion’s message.

CREDIT: carol mitchell / Flickr

Soka Gakkai International, one of the largest Buddhist institutions in the U.S., is at the forefront when it comes to Latino outreach. Since 2001, the organization has hosted annual Spanish-language conferences, which gives a chance for new people to learn Buddhism and for longtime practitioners to build community with one another. This has led to many growing Buddhist communities across the country that are teaching a new generation of young practitioners that might have never been exposed to the religion.

As Buddhism grows in popularity, so does the need for more organizations and churches like Soka Gakkai and OCBC to do outreach and be the bridge for Latinos and others who’ve never practiced the religion.

“I like to think of Buddhism as the best-kept secret and for those that are even the slightly interested, I always welcome them to attend a service,” Turner said. “If you want a deeper meaning to your life or just want self-reflection, Buddhism might be for you.”

READ: Atheist And Non-Religious Latinos Are Growing In Numbers

What are your thoughts on religion as a Latino? Is Buddhism something you’ve though about? 

 Let us know in the comments below!

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