Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge Day 2


Happy Thursday everyone! I hope you had a great Thursday! I’m SO ready for the weekend to get here! Today is the second day of the 12 Days of Christmas challenge for me. I’m going to share an old tradition me and my family have every Christmas.

Christmas wouldn’t be the same for me and my family if we didn’t make tamales every year. A few days before Christmas, me, my grandma, mom and sister get together to make three types of tamales. My grandma is the boss of our little operation. My grandma’s mother was the boss before she passed away. I’m fortunate I got to meet my great grandmother. She lived to be 98 years old.

My family makes red, green and sweet tamales. One Christmas we made 60 pounds of tamales! Last year, we made about 30 pounds. The red tamales include red chile and shredded pork. The chile and pork are included with masa (corn dough). My grandma prepares the masa. The masa is spread with a spoon on top of a corn husk (hoja). After the corn husk has the masa, we scoop a piece of shredded pork with a spoon on top of it. The tamales are folded and placed in a huge pot so they can be cooked.

Before we prepare the tamales, my grandma boils the red and green chile on the stove. The chile includes salt, garlic and cumin. My grandma prepares the chile in the blender. Afterwards, she uses a strainer to remove the excess chile skin and seeds. She usually cooks the pork and chicken the night before.

Last year’s batch of tamales.

The green tamales include shredded chicken, green chile and cheese. They are made the same way as the red ones. The sweet tamales are the easiest to make out of the three. They include raisins, shredded coconut and pecans. My mom or grandma dyes the masa pink. It gives the tamales a very nice presentation. For the sweet tamales, you don’t have to spread the masa onto the corn husk. All you have to do is scoop a ball of masa with a spoon and place it on top of the corn husk. My grandma spends the rest of the day and the next cooking the tamales.

Me and my family eat tamales a few days before Christmas and on Christmas Day. We give the tamales away to other family members, friends and co-workers. If there’s some leftovers, we freeze them for another day or month. Please stay tuned for Christmas recipes here on Life of an El Paso Woman.

I’m nominating the following three bloggers to participate in the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. Here are the rules and nominees below:

The Rules:

  • Include the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge photo in each blog post.
  • You may start at any point in December.
  • Use the topic supplied for the post of that day.
  • Make sure all posts are in December, but they don’t have to be posted consecutively (lets face it it’s a busy time).
  • Nominate 3 people after each blog to start the challenge.
  • Have fun!



T. Wayne

I understand it’s a long challenge so I completely understand if you can’t participate. It’s also a very busy time of the year! Feel free to do all or a few of the challenges.


  1. Oh I can’t even imagine how much work it is! But yes, I am sure it is all worth it. I meant to say your, “Great-grandmother”; sorry about that! I am sure your grandma is the absolute best person to be the boss, as she knows exactly what she is doing!! *grin* Cher xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Cher 😊It’s so much work but the taste and smell of them makes it all worth it. She was my great grandmother. Thankfully my grandma is still with us. She’s 80 and still has tons of energy. She’s the boss of this tradition. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My Mom and Aunts made tamales last year. They were delicious but this year they won’t be making any. The entire process was just too much for ’em. I’ll probably just buy a couple dozen tamales this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Suzie! It’s a lot of work, especially for my grandma but it’s always worth it. My grandma’s 80 and probably has more energy than me.Lol. There’s probably not a lot of Mexican food in England. We’ll have to eat a lot of it if you’re ever in El Paso :). We used to send some to my uncle in Los Angeles. I don’t think they would taste good if I send some to you in England. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Is the tamale making a Christmas tradition with just your family, or more widespread? I grew up in Washington, DC and never even heard of a tamale until I was 14 and my family drove through Texas while visiting an uncle out west.

    Liked by 2 people

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