CRC Daily: Merry Christmas from Costa Rica!

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas Day.

There’s a real-estate billboard on the road to Tamarindo that advertises free snow removal for life with the purchase of your Costa Rica property.

The ad always makes me chuckle — it’s clever, and a good reminder of the blessing that is living here. We might not get a snowy Christmas, but we’ll get a sunny and sandy one, and we’re damn lucky for that.

Costa Rica doesn’t celebrate a Thanksgiving, so for many, Christmas time is the season for gratitude.

In early December, workers receive their aguinaldo — an extra month’s paycheck that is mandated for everyone from the President to the undocumented farmhand. That bonus is a reason to be thankful.

One of the country’s biggest Christmas trees sits outside the Children’s Hospital. This year, it shines with 15,000 lights in a rainbow of colors, bringing smiles to hundreds of young patients. Their joy is a reason to be thankful.

On Christmas Eve, Costa Rica began administering coronavirus vaccines. Ten thousand high-risk people each week will receive the immunizations, saving an untold number of lives, and that is a reason to be thankful.

During a year in which international travel was difficult, we were “stuck” in Costa Rica: The country with beaches on the Pacific and the Caribbean, with cloud forests and rain forests, active volcanoes and crater lakes, good food and great people. For that, we are thankful.

In May, Costa Rica became the first country in Latin America to resume its soccer championship. Saprissa won the title in June, and Alajuelense won earlier this month. For the passion experienced with every goal and every trophy, we are thankful.

Costa Rica legalized same-sex marriage on May 26. Daritza Araya Arguedas, 24, and Alexandra Quirós Castillo, 29, became the first same-sex couple to legally wed. Hundreds have followed since. Love is love, and for that, we are thankful.

In August, Costa Rica reopened its air borders to tourists. Over the coming months, hundreds of people experienced Costa Rica’s beauty for the first time, breathing embers of life into a struggling economy. For that, we are thankful.

This year, I saw a Resplendent Quetzal for the first time. For that, I am thankful.

Costa Rica generated 98% of its electric energy through renewable sources for the sixth straight year. While far from perfect, the country remains a model of sustainability for others, and for that, we are thankful.

As I write this, fireworks illuminate the night sky. I just finished dinner — a surprise delivery from my neighbor, who prepared an extra plate since she knew my family is abroad. 2020 has been a uniquely difficult year, but Christmas is a day of celebration and gratitude.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.

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