Christmas 2014

How was your Christmas? I wrote about my plans for Christmas in this blog post and here’s how I actually celebrated it.

We had a simple noche buena. We had ham, spaghetti, grapes, coke and mango float. What we lacked in the food department, we made up for it in the presentation. What we wanted was a leftover-free Christmas preparation.  Preparing just enough is the key. And oh, after 3.5 months, I drank coke. It is my reward for this season. I’ll abstain again on January 2.

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I also got to spend time with my nephew. We braved the crowded mall for arcade games and Jollibee.

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I partied with friends.

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I also explored a nearby resort with my travel friends.

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Right now, we are under signal number 1 as tropical depression Seniang tries to make a landfall tomorrow in Tandag which is 180 kms from us. I am in my bed indulging this aircon weather. This is the kind of ‘me time’ I wanted to reward myself.  However, as much as I enjoy this cold weather, I hope the heavy rains will do no harm so we can celebrate the rest of the holiday season meaningfully.

The 4Fs of the Season

Family. Friends. Food. Faith

This is a rundown of what happened over the Holidays.

By December 3,  my Christmas tree was up.  I pushed myself to do it by that time or else I would never be able to do it in the succeeding days.

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 The city lit up, too. I love how they used old water jugs as Christmas lights. Can you tell the water jugs in one of the photos below?
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We always celebrate Christmas in a simple way. We just cooked spaghetti, dinuguan, ham and pudding.

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As promised, we had cupcakes. We bought the cupcakes and I made the frosting.
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Oh, we made our favorite… the mango float!
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Mango is a favorite ingredient that, in one party with friends,  we had mango roll, mango bars, mango sago and mango (the fruit itself).

My Christmas vacation was full of gathering with family and friends.
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I also invited my cousin over so we can bake cookies and cake and we can bring them for another cousin who invited us to her home for coffee.

The cookies were divine. They are of the melt-on-your-mouth kind.
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And look at the chocolate cake!
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Who would have thought we baked them in a oven with a broken door?
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There was a problem with the mechanism on my oven door. While checking on the cookie, I opened the oven door only to realize I could no longer close it tight. I pushed it hard that I broke the handle. We baked the cookies with an oven door ajar! Adding to the stress, my cousin mistook the baking soda for flour. The chewy cookies we baked tasted bitter. It was the most stressful afternoon for her in her more than 15 years of baking experience. But we are doing this again once I get my oven fixed. Yes, we never give up!

Of course, the Christmas season is best celebrated with kids. My nephew enjoyed our simple gift we gave him on New Year’s Day.
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Yes, we now own a fireboat. I checked with the captain for status yesterday. The fireboat had mechanical trouble!
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Amid the festivities, we remember the reason for the season, the One who came into this world and died for us to save us from sins. Thank you, Jesus!
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How about you? What did you do the past two weeks?

Christmas is in the air

You can’t stop Christmas. You see symbols of Christmas everywhere.  This is in one of the halls of a hotel I stayed in Metro Manila. A tastefully decorated Christmas tree adorned the hall.

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I also took the opportunity to see the lights at the Ayala Triangle. It was spectacular.
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Reeling from the devastation in Visayas, I hope that we celebrate Christmas more meaningfully. I have friends who will not have parties in their offices because they already donated their budget for the victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan). While I may encourage others to do the same, it is really up to you on how you will celebrate Christmas. I believe in the compassion of people. We can help other people while still living the best life the way we know how.

There are those who skip buying Christmas presents this year. However, there are also those who go through an extra mile to make sure their loved ones still able to feel the spirit of giving in this Christmas season. It was evident when I visited the malls. Traffic is busy in those areas and you see ‘SALE’ signs being put up. You see people buying toys for their kids. And there are some who are still in process of buying their Christmas decors.

There are ways you can support the people of Visayas while doing your Christmas shopping. You can donate to the different charities in behalf of the person you wanted to give the gift. You can also buy gifts where profits will be donated to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Online shopping sites like Zalora have a donation scheme where a portion of the proceeds from items your bought will be donated to victims of the supertyphoon. In a few days, the intensity of the Christmas rush will increase. The advantage in this type of online shopping is that you will have a traffic-and-frenzy-free shopping experience. Plus, you are able to help others, too.

Happy Shopping!

A simple Noche Buena

We had a simple Christmas celebration. We prepared dishes in small batches- food we can all consume  in a day or two.  We used to have Christmas celebrations where we ate leftovers upon leftovers a few days after. We did not want that kind of celebration anymore. We just made sure we had ham. We chose the complementary dishes according to ease in preparation; thus, we had the perennial favorite, Pinoy spaghetti! My aunt requested vegetable salad. For dessert, we had buko salad (using gelatin that looks like buko), cupcakes (a gift from a cousin) and my fruit bar (recipe will be shared on the next blog post).

By preparing simple dishes, we did not have to be slaves in the kitchen all day and end up exhausted by midnight. We had time to just be in the moment. My nephew came so we had bonding moments with the cutie pie who is now 5 months old.

How was your Christmas?

Let me say…

Christmas is more meaningful when we share our blessings with others.

This may sound like a broken record on repeat but Cagayan de Oro and Iligan need our help. Lists of agencies, foundations and groups where you may send your donations are listed here: How to help victims of Tropical Storm Sendong

Thank you for your kindness. May God bless you a hundredfold.