With this post I recall all the great moments of this year’s Christmas, and finally lay the holidays to rest.
It was a wonderful time spent with my bigger family and with friends, peppered with a lot of quality moments with the H and A.
Hectic as usual, but I love that every day was a day that was celebrated well, with new memories created, and many blessings to be thankful for :).
Ayala Triangle Light Show
To kick start the holiday season, the H and I always try to catch the light show at the Ayala Triangle gardens. There’s something about all those lights draped from the trees, flickering to Christmas music, that makes me feel so giddy and excited. It never fails to put me in the holiday mood.
I guess this is the modern day version of those COD Christmas display shows I used to watch when I was a kid (they actually have a revival of it at the Greenhills Shopping Mall, but I’ve never been). It was always a family tradition to trek down to Cubao to witness this Christmas production. My dad would prop me up on his shoulders, so I could have an unobstructed view of the show. I remember always being entranced by the set and the moving figures, and it always strongly reinforced how much I loved Christmas, and all its traditions and festivities. Still do.
Hi-5 House Party in Manila
This holiday season, we were also able to catch two shows.
The little one loves Hi-5, and it just so happens they had a show at SM Aura–right in our neighborhood! The H and I knew she would be so ecstatic to watch them live, so we immediately snapped up some tickets, and took A to see her favorite group perform.
And boy did she love it!
Even though I am personally not too into Hi-5, seeing the excitement on A’s face, made it more than worthwhile for me.
Barkada Christmas Get-Togethers
I’m glad that despite our busy schedules, we were able to plan our barkada Christmas get-togethers early enough for them to push through without a hitch.
The H and I both have groups of friends that we’ve known for like forever. My best gal pals have been my friends since Grade School (some since Nursery!), and the H has known his since High School. They are truly our closest friends, and because we don’t get to see each other as often, celebrating these occasions with them and their families is always such a special time for us.
Christmas is the only time of year that my family is complete. And that’s why I love it. The house also always looks so festive, sissy is home from New York, we do our thing and decorate the Christmas dinner table together, and the food we feast on has been a family tradition for many, many years. What’s not to love, right?
And for the past couple of years, we’ve started to have color themed parties as well. This year’s theme was red, green and gold. Our parents were all in red, my cousins, siblings and I were in green, while the kiddos were in white and gold.
In my family, Christmas Eve is also the night when presents are exchanged and opened. Because of Yolanda, gifts were a lot simpler this year, and some of our relatives decided not to give gifts at all, but that did not dim our celebration one bit. In fact, I think it was even more fun, and definitely more meaningful.
Christmas Day this year was spent at Cousin A’s house. It’s pretty much a repeat of the night before, minus my siblings, who celebrate the holidays with their in-laws.
For the past couple of years, my generation (my cousins, siblings and I) has already been hosting the family holiday celebrations. Our parents have been “passing on the baton”, so to speak, and getting us ready for what will eventually be our role in the future. I love it when traditions are passed on successfully, and hope my cousins, siblings and I will be able to keep it up, and keep our families close in the years to come.
In the evening, we trooped over to my in-laws for Christmas dinner. Since last year, they decided to celebrate on the 25th itself, just so that we wouldn’t have to rush Noche Buena with the Pascual side (my family’s side) on the 24th. Best. Decision. Ever!!! Plus, we could totally enjoy the feast that my MIL ends up preparing. Before, when we would celebrate both Noche Buena’s on the 24th, I would be too full to eat by the time we reached my in-laws’ place. The kids would also be a bit tired, as it would be waaaaaay past their bedtime.
This time around, dinner was enjoyed quite leisurely, with no one rushing to leave; and gift opening was ofcourse the highlight of the evening, with all the kids excitedly opening presents, and creating a huge mess in the process! Hahaha! Oh to be a kid again!
This year was the first year we introduced Santa to the little one. During past Christmases we felt she was still too young to understand who he was, so we did not even bother with it.
But this year–thanks to Rockwell mall–she got so into the idea of Santa! I guess it helped to see an actual live, breathing version of him (haha!). Unfortunately however, as Christmas Eve drew nearer, and our schedules just got waaaaaay too hectic, we were unable to compose our letter to Santa. Instead, I asked A to wish very hard, for what she wanted Santa to get her, and that if she was a good girl, Santa would give her a gift on Christmas.
On December 26, A opened her very first gifts from Santa Claus. He left them inside her stocking. As you can see from the look on her face, she was very pleased with her presents.
Next year, I promised her, we’ll try to work on her letter, and we’ll even leave milk and cookies for Santa. We’ll go for the whole shebang.
Cousin’s Night Out
When we were younger, the days in between Christmas would be spent partying at bars and clubs. Obviously, those days are far behind us now. Hahaha! Staying in and having wine and cheese nights are more our thing.
Thanks to big sissy for being our host this time around. We had a great time bonding with the sibs and our cousins, in the comfort of her beautiful home.
NYC Roomies Reunion at The Pen
As December is a time of reunions, we couldn’t let it go by without seeing our good friends from New York. We met at the Peninsula Hotel, which is always so wonderfully decorated during Christmastime. The H and I hope to make this another tradition with A, to have bibingka and puto bumbong at the Pen every year.
While unfortunately there wasn’t any more by the time we got there, we still enjoyed the company and the ambience very much.
I especially loved this life-size gingerbread house! It smelled so heavenly!
Disney On Ice
For our second show of the holiday season, we took the little girl to Disney on Ice. She is currently fascinated by the Disney Princesses, and by the Prince’s too! Personally, I also enjoyed the show very much. I remembered when I was a little girl and my parent’s used to take me and my siblings to Holiday on Ice. I remembered being in awe of the costumes, and the gracefulness of the skaters. This show is much, much more commercialized, but I still loved being able to sing the songs, appreciate the set and dance numbers, and to give A this experience. After all, who doesn’t love Disney? Their productions are as magical as ever.
To escape a little bit of the traffic and holiday madness, we took a quick out of town trip to Anvaya.
The weather was sooooo glorious, and it was definitely a welcome break to relax by the beach and enjoy the company of family.
New Year’s Eve
This year’s party theme was fascinators and bowties. I thought it was a fun and festive theme, don’t you think? And everyone certainly got into it, which made it even more fun!
My brother has a huge balcony that overlooks the Marikina Valley. We were so lucky to get a 360-degree view of different fireworks displays! We did not even have to have our own fireworks! Hahaha! I must say that the fireworks this year was very impressive, and there were a lot! I hope that means that 2014 will be good to all of us, and we’ll see that kind of abundance in terms of blessings as well.
New Year’s Day
New year, new family picture.
As you can see, our family is growing! We had a new addition last year in the form of my nephew, K. Isn’t he a cutie?
And because our family is much bigger than it was before, we thought it was high time to start documenting it by way of a studio family photo. The last time we had one done, my siblings and I were all single!
Here are my parent’s with all of their grandchildren. There’s a complete family picture, but will share it with you in a future post.
The photo shoot was such a riot! But I’m glad we had it done anyway.
Afterwards, we attended mass to commemorate the first day of the year, and had dinner out as despedida for my sister, who left for NY the next day😦.
As you can see, our holidays were choc-full of activities! Writing this blog post and looking back at all that happened these past few weeks allowed me to remember all the wonderful memories we created and shared as a family.
Here’s to more memories, adventures and exciting experiences in 2014! God bless us all.