With Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday this year, routines will not be put out of kilter significantly over the holidays. Apart from most supermarkets and convenience stores, shops will be closed on December 25, as will all banks, government offices, post offices and diplomatic missions (including the U.S. and Canadian consulates). Hospitals will maintain skeleton staffs and will only attend to emergencies. Both Red Cross and fire services will be operational.
Most organizations – including banks and consulates – will be open for business on December 24, as well as on December 26 and for the rest of the week. Government offices are allowed to keep their own schedules and one should not take it for granted that they will be open. For example, in contrast to previous years, all offices of the National Immigration Institute (INM) will be closed form December 20 through January 3.Newspapers will continue to be published throughout the holiday period. The REPORTER offices in Guadalajara and Chapala will close at midday on December 24 and reopen on December 26.
Schools took off for their winter vacation on January 21 and won’t reopen their doors until Monday, January 7.
Culture vultures will be pleased to note that most of Guadalajara’s museums will be open over the holiday, except on December 25 and January 1. However, expect them to close early (or not open at all) on December 24 and 31.
Finding tradesmen over the ten-day break can be tricky; now is not the best time to have a plumbing disaster.
Mexico’s politicians, their pockets no doubt bulging with their generous Christmas bonuses, may take off for their second (or third) homes in the country or the beach. Many won’t return to work until the second or third week of January.
Criminals see the holidays as a time for rich pickings because they believe police presence on the streets diminishes over the Christmas and New Year period. Law-enforcement agencies say this is untrue and that they mount special holiday operations to keep citizens secure. Regardless of who is right, everyone should be attentive to the possibility of crime. Just because it’s called the season of goodwill, doesn’t mean there’s lots of it around.
Finally, a word of warning for those driving Mexico’s highways during the holiday season: Drive conservatively and preferably not after dark, when 80 percent of all accidents occur. More traffic on the roads doesn’t mean motorists use more common sense. Arriving at your destination is the important thing, not arriving early or not at all because you’ve had an accident.