Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry & Bright

Gramma's Christmas Tree with the last few presents left over

This year's Christmas has been different from all the rest for many reasons, but namely because for the first time in 20 years, we celebrated in the Philippines. It was a really small and intimate affair, which is different from what I'm used to, but it was still good nonetheless with just the immediate family in attendance.  Like many Filipinos we celebrated our Christmas mainly during Christmas Eve during what is called Noche Buena.

Christmas tree detail
Noche Buena literally meaning "good night" is celebrated on the evening of Christmas Eve.  A big dinner is prepared, all the gifts are placed under the tree and we all attend midnight mass at church.  My grandma sings in the choir, so it's always fun watching her preform (she goes all out!)  There was a massive crowd at the church, and the Christmas spirit felt electric.  Before we left for mass, we had dinner which included the traditional and oh so coveted Lechon from Cebu. Vegetarians and animal lovers alike - beware of the photo below! 

Posing with the guest of honor
If you watch Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations -- Philippines episode, you'll know he claimed Cebu's roast pig as the best roast pig he's ever eaten. So of course, we ordered it. 1 word: AMAZEBALLS. crunchy, juicy, tasty -- everything you want a pig to be. 

We also managed to find my late grandfather's whiskey collection, and thought to drink some of it in his honor.  That glass is from the seventies and my mom has memories of him drinking his scotch from it.  The scotch also is a really old bottle, which we think is at least 10 years old. 

After dinner & church we waited for it to turn midnight so we could finally open presents. I wrapped all my gifts this year in brown paper and string. I also made pom poms which really brought some whimsy to the plain wrapping.  We all took turns handing gifts to each other, and I think Miguel and I really picked out some good ones this year. Everyone seemed really happy. 

Posing with grammy and making fun of her mini santas

All in all it was a great Christmas, that had me counting my blessings.  Hope yours was just as fantastic! Sending light, love and an extra bit of patience to get you through the rest of the holidays. here's to a fabulous holiday season and a beautiful 2013!

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