Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Yes, it is definitely that time of year. It all starts with the mail carriers who have their special day on November 12, Dia del Cartero. In your mail box, they will leave a card with a return envelope, preprinted with their name on it. (Convenient, huh?)

You simply insert your “gift” as a token of appreciation for their service for the past year. I think they must like me because I actually participate in giving, partially because I have always given to my mailman when in the States in appreciation for the services they provide, and partially out of fear that if I don’t give, I may never receive another piece of mail as long as I live in Mexico!

On the other hand, I readily give generously to my housekeeper who works for me fulltime, year round. She is an integral part of my adopted family that I have been fortunate enough to have for 23+ years now. She is a single mother and has two children and a small house that she supports on the salary I pay her. In addition, any special needs that arise, I take care of plus I help whenever I can throughout the year. Her Christmas bonus is above and beyond the norm, and includes several gifts for both her and the children. I do believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive and this is one way I can give back to the community that I have chosen to live in. Something I think we all should do.

If you live in Mexico and you have an employee such as a housekeeper, gardener, cook, driver, or just someone who stops by to help you with chores every now and then, you should consider paying an Aguinaldo. It is customary to do so here in the Yucatan and throughout Mexico as well. There are even formulas on the internet to ascertain the amount you should pay!

Basically, from what I have seen from others living here, the Aguinaldo is considered the “Thirteenth Pay”. That is, one months’ salary for either full or part time help. In addition, to the monetary part of the Aguinaldo, a gift, or gifts, are often given as a token of appreciation for loyal service and/or longevity of service, or both.

Aguinaldo’s are usually paid in Mid-November up to the first part of December and often represents the total “Christmas” the family will have, including food, drink, and gifts. Often, the children in the family will receive some new clothing as their gift and are absolutely delighted to do so! (Unlike some children “north of the border”.) Let’s face it, the people that work for us are generally poor and do the best they can with what they have. It doesn’t hurt to help. It feels GREAT!

You don’t have to give until it hurts, just give until it helps.


  1. Nice reminder. Even if it were not the custom (and the law, in some instances), giving is designed to soften our hearts. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. One of these days we are going to meet.

  2. Great post! I didn't even THINK about giving the aguinaldo before Dec 1st...but it makes SO much more sense than the middle of December. Thanks for the info. I had the concept but not the timing!

    I take care of my postal carrier too, and he's helped me learn his aguinaldo process for the past 3 yrs. He brought the reminder, I gave him 10 pesos. A few days later he brought another. This finally stopped when I'd given him 30 pesos, apparently the anticipated amount. I don't get a lot of mail, but whatever I've awaited has safely arrived. I'm surprisingly impressed with the postal service here. It's slow but somewhat sure. Love that hot pink and chartreuse color scheme...must have gotten a lot of paint on sale!

    Some of the finer cultural points of cohabitating with the locals take time to get right! Thanks for the tips.

    I know you take GREAT care of your people, but honestly, the average pay in Mexico - even for many professionals - is at slave labor standards, so thank God there is such a bonus!