(And if you're not overly familiar with the Southwest you say "WTF?")
(And if you're my husband, you just call them "flaming bags o poo.")
So what the heck are farolitos/luminarias/fbops? From dictionary.com: "A votive candle set into a small, decorative paper bag weighted with sand and placed in a row with others along a walkway, driveway, or rooftop as a holiday decoration."
(Or you can buy electric ones with clear C9 Christmas lights and plastic bags from Walmart.)
This year I made J and the Cracker take me to Santa Fe on Christmas Eve so we could do the Farolito Walk.
Wow! Even J was impressed, and he was not all that thrilled to go hang outdoors past sunset with temps in the teens when he could be inside playing computer games. It was that amazing.
So we walked, we drank ponche, sang some carols, did the ooh and ahh thing. We even came across a Papa Noel who was giving out Beanie Babies to all the kids just cause he was cool like that.
The Cracker was gifted a bald eagle, which he insists is a penguin because of it's black and white and not a panda and not a zebra. (Go figure: he was so totally over Happy Feet after the first hour.)
There are bonfires every where, which they call luminarias locally (it's all very confusing) so that you can stop and defrost while making chit chat.
J's favorite unexpected highlight of the evening was the college-aged female PETA protestors who were very cold in Christmas themed lingerie. (Sorry, no pics.)
There is a great article in this December's Sunset Magazine (different than the link above and not on the web) with great pics. I highly recommend going, even if, according to my neighbors who have recently migrated from the Golden State, Santa Fe is filled with "assholes from Berkeley" (Snort.)