EL PASO,Texas - For many in the borderland Saturday became a day to spend with family and friends outside. It was no ordinary Saturday in El Paso it was not only Christmas Eve but also the first night of Hanukkah. While some ice skated during the comfortable day outside, others frantically bought last minute Christmas gifts for family and friends.
"We had to buy some gifts last minute because friends and family that were were not expecting are now coming into town," Carlos Di Stefano said,
Others decided to celebrate outside because the weather permitted and as a way to relax before the stress of holiday parties took over. A select few were enjoying the day outside because they needed to kill time before heading over to a family party.
"The times are going to go by so fast by the time you know it, it will be the 26th and Christmas will be over and you wasted it inside, so just come out it is a beautiful day out here," Virginia Rueda said.
Whether the day was spent frantically searching for that last gift, or observing the lights down town, most people seemed to be enjoying their day. It is not to have both Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah both land on the same day, but it did not seem to matter as everyone seemed to be united.
"If people are here to celebrate christmas, or if they are here to celebrate Hanukkah it does not make a difference to me, if they are happy that is all that matters," Kelly lugo said.
Many maid their way down town to San Jacinto plaza that is hosting Christmas for the first time since its long awaited renovation. Some brought their dogs, all seemed to have brought a happy attitude surrounded by the idea of celebration.
"Well its fun, I love it, its the atmosphere, its the Christmas vibe, I love Christmas time, so does she, we thought it would be a great time to come out here and see every body".
While many El Pasoans have associated the San Jacinto Plaza with the Christmas holiday, for some this became the first time they have seen the lights. Even for the few that have never been to San Jacinto Plaza before for Christmas, this became an opportunity to create new memories and even a new tradition.
"we've lived in El Paso our whole lives and we've never seen the lights and I think its really fun to spend the day with your family here and we are thinking of making it a tradition."
For those who have not been able to go to San Jacinto Plaza to see the new lights, and enjoy winter fest there is still time. Winter fest is expected to run through January 8th and it includes an ice skating rink, and plenty of Holiday lights.