I still remember my favorite Christmas song when I was a kid, I used to sing it during Christmas season with my classmates in 2nd Grade, and that memory kind of stuck with me, so every time Christmas season comes, that memory of mine starts playing in my head. The song is called “Noche Buena”, it’s my favorite maybe because it has a lot of food described in its lyrics, don’t forget I was still a kid back then.
Just like the song Noche Buena, that’s how we (my family and I) celebrated our holiday season. You see my family loves to cook, and we all cook during the holiday season. For Christmas, our theme was Asian cuisine, my older sister made Kani Salad (Japanese), crema del cielo (which was not really asian, but is somehow like a leche flan, so maybe that still counts), and a mango cheesecake (cheesecakes are not really asian, so she used mangoes to make it more ‘asian’); my mom prepared the christmas ham for us (this was the first Christmas that she only prepared 1 dish, she had a lot of things to do during the week before Christmas) and finally, I cooked: Lugaw toppings (Filipino: brown rice porridge, with onion chives, eggs, chicken, and beef as ‘toppings’), siomai-shanghai (Chinese: because both have the same food preparation but different cooking methods), Japchae (Korean), buttered mixed veggies as a side dish (carrots, young corn and turnips/singkamas, because those are the only vegetables that I eat, aside from potatoes of course), and for our refreshments, I prepared Sago-Gulaman juice (Filipino). So that wraps up our meal for the Noche Buena.
But aside from the food, the kid inside me was mostly looking forward to the opening of gifts. And the most peculiarly interesting gift I have received was from my dad. You see, he never really gave us Christmas gifts or wrapped up presents for us (maybe when we were young like 12y/o and below) since we started our teenage years he would bring us to the malls, and buy us whatever we wanted, and that would be his Christmas gift to us. But this year, he actually ‘gave’ us something, the night before midnight, he asked for a bond paper, ballpen, and a stapler, I though he needed them for wrapping presents or making envelops to place money inside, but alas, midnight came and he gave us (my mom, siblings and I) our ‘presents’. He handed each one of us a piece of stapled paper, written inside was his gift. The letter says:
Hope, Merry Christmas and may the true meaning of it be in your heart. My gift to you is a waterproof cellphone to be claimed on Feb. 2013. I love you. – Papa.
The point is my dad made an effort to write about his gift, and the funny thing was, I will have to claim it on February the next year, the same month as my birthday, which is like hitting two birds with one stone. I love this gift of his, because even if it was such a short letter, there was the essence of the gift. And the gift he wrote was the one thing I kept asking him for since November, and I never really thought he’d buy it for me, so it was like a far-fetched dream that became a reality.
For New Year’s day, our theme was ‘international cuisine’ so whatever works. My sister baked an almond-chocolate mousse, mashed potatoes and roast beef with gravy, and baguette with cheese dip; my mom cooked buttered shrimps and oven-cooked stuffed milkfish; I prepared, my most favorite dished in the whole world, Kare-kare and Palabok; and for the first time, I saw my dad prepare a dish for New Year (you see my dad never cooks, so it was a surprise for all of us seeing him cook and prepare food like that) he made buko salad with all the toppings you can ever imagine in a buko salad, and fried tikoy (it’s his favorite during New Year, his father, my grandfather, was Chinese). We also had suman, fruitcake, and softdrinks, oh, and popcorns too! Since the youngest guest (my 4y/o niece) in our celebration wanted to eat popcorns (she actually only ate popcorns the whole time).
This year the government encouraged the banning of fireworks to lessen firecracker-related injuries, not that we’re firework fanatics, we just like to watch, rather than light the fireworks ourselves, so this year my dad didn’t bought any fireworks, instead he bought an improvised torotots that looked like airhorns, and for the fireworks, we just watched the fireworks outside our house.
We celebrated New Year’s Day with our cousin and his family, so we had kids at home, and because we had kids, my mom made prepared some games for us to play, with prizes of course! She threw coins for us to scramble around and hoard from each other, and played ‘bring me’, with her standing on the second floor while we wait for her instructions at the ground floor, every time we bring her something, we had to race through the stairs and go back, it was back and forth, up and down, in the staircase, which was really a great way of exercise. In the end, we all had fun during the New Years’ unlike Christmas, and we stayed up until 3pm.
That’s how we (my family and I) celebrated Christmas and New Year, as for the days during the whole Christmas break, my sisters and I just watched random movies and whenever we weren’t watching, I stayed up in my room, reading (I got to read and finish 2 books: Memoirs of a Geisha and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I also started reading Luka and the Fire of Life but wasn’t able to finish it until the 5th of January). And that, my friends, is how I spent my holidays. How about you?