The Christmas countdown already has begun

Technically Christmas vacation for public employees is not for two more weeks. But expats probably should not count on getting any official business done.

After all there are the office parties, the celebration while setting up the nativity scene and other assorted gatherings to celebrate the holiday. Dec. 18 is the last day of work for most public employees. That is a Friday. Employees who do not have critical jobs are expected to return to work Jan. 4.

President Luis Guilermo Solís has forbidden the spending of public money on Christmas parties for public employees.

Heads of other branches of government have not been as firm.

Still, any manager with any administrative skill can magically produce the funds so the staff can celebrate.

Solís issued a directive Wednesday specifying the vacation time. The directive argues that the vacation will save money in utilities.

The Ministerio de Educación Pública, the Procuraduría General’s office and the Registro Nacional will have their own schedules.

The central government said it was paying $321 million in mandatory Christmas bonuses this week.

That is good news for shopkeepers and tourism operators. Many public and private employees will be headed to the beaches or the mountains for the 15-day Christmas break.

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