For the first time, Martha Frías and her family are spending the holidays in the Old Pueblo, instead of making their annual journey home to Ciudad Obregón, Sonora.
The recession has forced them to reduce their trips to Mexico.
"We used to go to Obregón like every two or three months," said Frías, who works in a restaurant. "But this year we have gone just once."
Like many Mexicans, who have made a tradition of heading home to celebrate Christmas, New Year's and Three Kings Day, the Frías family has had to forgo the trip.
Mexican authorities, who this time of the year promote Programa Paisano - an annual government-run program designed to ease the journey - estimate the number of Mexicans returning for the holidays is going to decline.
"We have noticed the recession has affected traveling plans," said Alejandro Orbezo Elizaga, one of the U.S. representatives of Programa Paisano.
The program was created in 1989 to clamp down on some corrupt public officials who were taking advantage of people returning with cash and holiday gifts.
Orbezo Elizaga said if the number doesn't increase this year, they hope it's not less than the approximately 850,000 people who made the journey south last year.
Also, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a Mexican research center based in Tijuana, Baja California, reported a decrease in the number of Mexicans traveling to Mexico in 2007 and 2008, according to its annual surveys.
Joel Barceló, with Club Granados, Sonora, a expatriate group in Tucson, said some Mexicans used to travel back and forth up to six times a year, especially for holidays.
"Maybe now they go three times," said Barceló. "Some of them were waiting for Christmas, or some of them will spend Christmas here and then go just for New Year's."
"We used to go for Christmas starting December 23 and come back for New Year's," said Frías. "Last year we went, but with little money so this year we are just going to stay here."
Frías hours at work have been cut. Her husband, who works at a heating and cooling company, is also working less.
As a result of the current economy, many Latinos are adjusting their spending habits, including how much they spend during the holidays, according to a Pew Hispanic Center study. This year the center's survey reported that 67 percent of Latinos planned to curtail holiday spending.
The decrease in the number of countrymen spending the holidays in Mexico has a negative impact on their hometowns, officials said.
Many families in the small towns and villages depend on holidays revenues and the remittances Mexicans abroad send home. According to Mexico's central bank, remittances dropped by 36 percent in October compared to 2008.
Frías said she's been forced to cut down on the amount of money she sends to relatives in her hometown.
"I used to send money every month for my mom," she said. "Now, I'm not traveling there or sending money either."
Frías and her family have relatives in Phoenix whom they could spend the holidays. Instead, she prefers to stay home and save.
"We are not going there either," said Frías. "We are trying to save our house and they told us we probably need money for that."