It appears inflation is masquerading as the Grinch as prices for a staple Christmas food are going way up.
A platter of tamales is a mainstay Christmas tradition for many Latino families in Los Angeles. However, as Angelenos start to pick between pollo, queso and carne at Tamale Liliana's in East L.A. they can't help but notice a change on the menu.
Some customers were surprised that the price of a dozen tamales increased at their favorite tamale place.
"Everything is due to the recession," said employee Montse Bautista. "Wages went up. Materials went up. Everything went up."
Bautista has been working at her uncle's restaurant for years and says their costs have soared 60% but only raised the cost of a dozen by $2 which is 7%.
"It's a bit, customers have explained their frustration with us but it's all due to the materials that increased," said Bautista. "We're just trying to keep it affordable for everyone."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a 24% increase in the price of corn compared to last year. This, combined with rising labor costs and meat shortages, are the likely culprits causing the rising prices.
With a Christmas meal more expensive than last year, some families are getting creative in order to get enough tamales for their celebrations.
"Everyone's gonna buy their own tamales — two dozen a family," said customer Linda Lopez. "At least someone's making. We all pitch in and we all eat."
There's no preordering at Tamales Liliana's but they will be open extra hours on Christmas Eve, which starts at 2 a.m.
for more features.