For those unfamiliar with Filipino Christmas celebrations, let me be the first to inform you… We have one of the LONGEST. Christmas decorations get put up immediately after Halloween (or for some homes, as soon as the ‘ber months hit), and won’t be taken down until the middle of January. We just LOVE Christmas.
One of the most important elements of a proper Pinoy Christmas is family. Members from far and wide come home to our shores for the best Christmas spirit in the world… Our family from San Francisco included.
Under normal circumstances, a Christmas in my nuclear family (Chad, Schrumpf, and I) is celebrated with traditions that are uniquely ours.
It all started when I was still single. Back then, my brother and I had the weird tradition of counting down to midnight in my room, laughing our heads off watching horror movies/slashers. We marvelled at how stupid the heroes/heroines are for running UP THE ATTIC to get away from monsters as opposed to getting out of the haunted house (I miss you, bro).
After I married my husband, we agreed to merge his family’s traditional rituals with ones we’ve developed. Christmas dinners with the entire family in his parents’ house, Christmas lunches with mine, counting down to midnight watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Meet Me In St. Louis, Home Alone, and/or It’s A Wonderful Life, and TONS of wine over dinner.
One of our favourite unusual rituals is to go over to Cyrano a few weeks before Christmas, while their friendly bartender, Alex, play the year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
People have found this custom of ours bizarre, but to the three of us, VS is one long, feel good, festive music video with beautiful women. The angels are aspirational (man, how can they rock those bodies after giving birth just xx months ago?) to (secure!) women, and eye candy to men.
The way we three watch the shows is with so much analysis and data (this angel improved her physique versus 2012, this angel must be retiring soon, she s 5’9” without the heels, where is Cara Delevigne, Taylor’s music is so much better this year than last year and she is SO not lip synching, blah blah blah).
All this play by play is best enjoyed with some of Cyrano’s wines, of course.
Another tradition Chad and I have is to host our geek friends’ annual Christmas party, complete with board games and alcohol. This year, it was all about Cards Against Humanity (with all 5 expansion packs), and Dixit. The CAH games exist to prove how terribly geeky and cruel we could be, and I’m proud to say that Chad was the cruelest of them all in 2014. The 2014 games involved tons of scotch and Paul’s Chicken Tikka from heaven.
Like I initially mentioned, however, we had extended family from the US come over. Not really the drinking types (what with kids and all), we all enjoyed something wonderfully (and wholesomely) Pinoy: proper mango shakes. See, mangoes in the Philippines are nothing short of DIVINE. Sweet, succulent, juicy… You just can’t get mangoes like ours anywhere else in the world.
Alas, the Christmas holidays had to come to an end. A beer shot with the laptop means only one thing: Back to work! Admittedly, this is part one of my article. New Year coming soon! Cheers!