Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Christmas in Santa Fe – Photos and Recipes


Chile wreath

Chile wreath on our front door.

Joyous Holidays from our home to yours!

Christmas is an especially magical time here in Santa Fe, filled with farolitos, lights, and the scents of posole and biscochitos. Here a few photos of the plaza, just to share, and recipes for our traditional Christmas meal.

Christmas lights in plaza

Christmas lights in plaza

Dad, Mom, Noé in plaza.

Dad, Mom, Noé in plaza.

Farolitos, candles within sand in brown paper bags glowing in the dark, are a primary rhythm of the holiday season in Santa Fe. Farolitos line the roads, glow from atop buildings, and welcome visitors into homes. Farolitos are an integral thread to any Santa Fe festivity. We spent Christmas Eve lighting farolitos in front of First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe.

Wyatt, Luke, Wynn light farolitos.

Wyatt, Luke, Wynn light farolitos.

The kids were especially glad to be doing this when they discovered they’d been given small gas torches. It took them a couple of tries to learn to light the candle, without lighting the bag!

Luke lighting farolitos...

Luke lighting farolitos..Oops!

Electric strings of farolitos embroider the edges of buildings all over Santa Fe.

Farolitos alight.

Farolitos alight.

Christmas Eve in Santa Fe means walking Canyon Road, now lined with farolitos and lights.

Canyon Road, Christmas Eve © Becky's Blog

Canyon Road, Christmas Eve © Becky’s Blog

Farolitos along Canyon Road, Christmas Eve © santafe.com

Farolitos along Canyon Road, Christmas Eve © santafe.com

In Santa Fe, it’s not turkey and apple pie for Christmas – it’s posole (po-SO-lay) and biscochitos (bee-sko-CHEE-tos)! Here are two fabulous recipes.




2 c. posole (hominy), picked over for dirt or stones
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 c. chopped onion
2 T. minced garlic                                  

1 oz. New Mexico dried red chile pods, 4 or 5 pods, stems and seeds removed  

Pork roast                                                       

5 c. chicken broth                                                                                                             

1/2 c. coarsely chopped cilantro                                                                                      

2 t. salt, or to taste

Put the posole in a 6-quart pot and cover with cold water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, adding water as needed, until the kernels have softened and begin to burst. Drain the posole and rinse well.

Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot and sauté the onions until golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the posole, dried chiles, pork roast cut into bite-size pieces, broth and 1/2 of the cilantro. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the salt and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Serves 8-10)

Biscochitos by Renee Villarreal

Biscochitos by Renee Villarreal


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lard
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth. Mix in the anise seed, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the sifted ingredients and brandy, and stir until well blended.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 or 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters, often scalloped circles. Place cookies onto baking sheets. Mix together the 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the tops of the cookies.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms are lightly browned.

With honor of your and your family’s traditions during this time, we wish you a joyous holiday season!

Plaza lights and farolitos. Photo ©Wynn Wink-Moran

Plaza lights and farolitos. Photo ©Wynn Wink-Moran

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

15 thoughts on “Christmas in Santa Fe – Photos and Recipes

  1. Ah, yes! 😀 I do remember these recipes from last year. I have made posole but not biscochitos – not yet anyway – will make these tomorrow. 😀 Thank you, Dawn, for reposting this beautiful post + recipes. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Hugs, Lindy

    • Dear Lindy! Wonderful! Did you make biscochitos? I just had some with coffee this morning. Again! 🙂 They do go beautifully together by candlelight and the lights of the tree. Lovely, wonderful holidays to you and yours, Lindy! Much love, Dawn

  2. Pingback: Dewdrops Birthday | Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

  3. Dear Rita, How wonderful to connect! Okay, here is something very wild…. I wrote to Evelyn (Wallace) Edgell this morning about a time that when we were little girls and sat on the tailgate of a picked up, backed up to a bonfire, singing along with The Wild Willy Band. What a treasured memory that is for me. Thanks so much for connecting and for sharing the journey of Meadowlark. Cascabel to Meadowlark. Blessings! Yes, I will say Hi to Mom and Dad. Let’s keep in touch. Take good care, Dawn

  4. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures. Reminds me of the celebrations at Tubac, AZ. and the food we make. I don’t know if you remember me(Rita Eismon), Dawn you were small when you guys lived in Cascabel. My husband was Jerry Eismon played music The Wild WIlly Band. They played at your parents ranch a few times. Enjoyed reading your book. Say hi to your parents. Have a wonderful New Year. Rita Eismon-Galavez

  5. I love it all, bright,vibrant alive!!!! My father used to talk about Posole ( beans, he had lived in Argentina ) I think it instilled in me a love for the colors etc. Of Mexico & S America. It just looks exciting! I hope your Christmas was all it could be…Tons of love, Micki

    • Dear Micki, “bright, vibrant, alive! ” Yes, that is Christmas in Santa Fe expressed beautifully! 🙂 And I didn’t realize that your father had lived in Argentina and knew posole, and thus your love of colors of Mexico and South America. How wonderful to know that! It was a lovely, lovely Christmas… So much love to you, Dawn

  6. How wonderful :). The pictures of Santa Fe remind me of the holiday season decorations in the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, Sedona, AZ. Farolitos/luminarias are so beautiful and such an equally beautiful tradition. So glad your parents are able to spend this holiday time with you.

    I have copied those recipes – I absolutely LOVE a good Posole. I have never had Biscochitos but am definitely going to make them. Thank you for sharing.


    • Dear Lindy, The Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village in Sedona sounds marvelous. Yes, I grew up with “luminarias” in AZ. This posole recipe is the one I use. I made a big batch on Christmas Eve and we ate yesterday – and will again today. Wonderful to have this simmering on the stove for hungry people. I look forward to hearing about your biscochitos.

      Hugs to you.

  7. HOPE to Santa Fé? xo

  8. Dear Dawn,
    Thank you for sharing your traditions, photos, and recipes. Taking it all in by the light of my own Christmas tree. Blessed.
    Hugs to you.

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