By Azam Ahmed / New York Times
In the land of the forever Christmas, there are no elves, no reindeer and no snow. And the creepy wooden Santa that sits outside one of the stores confronts shoppers with a gigantic beard and not an ounce of cheer.
The small village of Tlalpujahua, embedded in the lush mountains of Michoacán, is no North Pole. Yet it celebrates Christmas every day of the year all the same, as a production center of handmade ornaments for the Mexican, American and Canadian markets.
Despite the absence of a traditional Christmas setting, Tlalpujahua, a former mining town, does not lack for charm. The narrow cobblestone streets sweep up sharp slopes to an airy plaza, where a 300-year-old church with a pink bell tower dominates the tiled rooftops and the surrounding landscape. Stores are tiny and tidy, stacked side by side, and the village’s entrance is graced with a giant Christmas tree that stays up all year.
Tourists come from across Mexico and the world to shop and get a firsthand look at the craftsmanship, which renders everything from traditional Christmas balls to trumpets, candy canes and pieces of fruit.