28 December 2012

This Year's Christmas.

This is our little family tradition: Christmas eve is always celebrated at home with just me, mom, and my sisters Abbie, Azenith, and Dionne. We'd have food, games, gifts, and lots of laughter. The moment the clock strikes 12 on Christmas eve, we'd greet each other, have noche buena, take family portraits, distribute gifts, and then open our gifts together. This tradition has continued on even when two of my sisters got married. They would all come to our house on Christmas eve. It has certainly become happier upon the arrival of my nephews and nieces.

Every 25th, we'd all go to my Maternal grandparents' home for our annual family reunion. As far as I could remember, we always had this reunion. And then, some five years ago, my Dad's side of the family started the Christmas dinner tradition. So, in the evening of the 25th, we'd all head off to my Paternal Aunt's house.

This year though was a little different.

My Dad's side of the family came over to our house on December 24th for Christmas dinner together with my Aunt's bestfriend from Australia, Tita Patricia. Abbie's husband Leo and daughter Michelle flew in from Manila and joined us, too. Roy, my brother by choice, also came over. We were delighted to have him around. Our tiny home was filled with love and laughter. I felt very blessed having all these people visit us.

On the noche buena table: palabok, fried lumpia, lechon manok, pata tim,
bam-i, fried chicken, ube cake, pineapple pie, munchkins, fruit salad.
Truth be told, we don't prepare elaborate noche buena.
If we didn't have visitors, we'd probably just have pork barbeque, fried chicken,
spaghetti, and fruit salad because these are what the kids like.

Since they moved to Canada, we've been spending Christmas eve together through Skype.
And we still include them in our family portraits.
They have been performing for us since they were toddlers, they performed for us again this year.

My little family -- me, Abbie, Mom, Dionne.

My sister Abbie's funny bunch.

This is my sister Azenith's family in Canada. I got this photo from her through email.
I am glad she did not forget this tradition of taking family portraits on Christmas.
I'm missing this family a lot.

We woke up early on December 25th because, as it is every year, we were going to attend our family reunion on Mom's side of the family. But that morning, we were informed that no reunion was being organized. I knew, somehow, that one day, this family reunion was going to stop. This year, it did.

The mandatory group picture before dinner.

In the evening, we went to my Dad's side of the family. There, we had lots of food and laughter and conversations. My Dad's two cousins were also there. My sisters and I used to spend time with them whenever we'd go to the province. So it was wonderful to see them again.

My Aunt set up tables in her living room so the kids will be comfortable. We all love my Aunt's house.
It looks like a log cabin/farm house filled with lovely things.
And her house is always overflowing with puto, cuchinta, palitaw, pichi-pichi, and nilusak.

I am quite happy about the changes and events that transpired this Christmas. Mom though was saddened about the reunion that never happened. I guess, she never saw it coming. Besides, she really enjoys being around her relatives. Our family is big on family traditions. So, over lunch on Christmas Day, Mom told us that when she's gone, she hopes that we will still honor our family traditions and continue to see each other.

We promised her we would.

How was your Christmas?

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