The first thing I did today was play Christmas songs (around midnight. Of course, I started it with "Christmas in Our Hearts". Miggy woke me up though because there was no electricity. There was a breeze outside, so it wasn't warm. It's probably due to supertyphoon Hinnamnor. I pray it doesn't bring any damage.
Well, today is the start of the Christmas season. I have friends who have busted out their Christmas decors. I have to hold off decorating since we still have some work to do in our house. While listening to the Christmas songs I couldn't help but remember the rituals our family used to do when all our elders were still around.
1. Decorate the house - Mom usually started decorating after All Saints Day. She'd bring out all the decors from the boxes. Some were from estate sales in the US and others were projects we made through the years. As far as I remember we always had a huge Christmas tree and it would fill up with gifts towards Christmas.
2. Simbang Gabi - my parents always attended Simbang Gabi. They always had to drag me out of bed to attend when I was a child. Eventually though I learned to love it because of choir service. Of course, eating puto bumbong after mass is imminent.
3. Midnight Christmas Mass - we always attended the midnight mass as a family. It's been years since we've done this.
4. Noche Buena - we usually ate dinner on the 24th, but always had a huge appetite after hearing mass. We'd eat Noche Buena after hearing mass and then go to sleep in the wee hours of the morning.
5. Christmas Family Reunion - the 25th was always the day set for our family reunions. Aside from seeing my cousins and Titos and Titas, I looked forward to all the yummy food they would bring. Each family had a specialty and I regret not learning how they cooked it. It's also on Christmas day when my Mom would reveal her specially made homemade ham. This was prepared with much care and science (I always wondered what those huge injections were for).
6. Gift giving - on Christmas day our tree would be overflowing with gifts. After eating lunch, Tito Tony would distribute the gifts by calling your name and throwing the gift at you. This meant you have to be good at playing catch and you have to be quick at letting him know if the gift is fragile, haha.
7. Leftovers - long before Sharon's song became popular for taking home leftovers, we always had leftovers. Mom and the Titas would always busy themselves to wrap the leftovers to distribute across the families.
Well, as my cousins grew up and started to marry, the reunions got harder to organize. We also started to lose our elders, so our huge reunions have been downsized to eating out. We haven't done any since early 2020, so we'll play it by ear this year. Eventually though we had our own family reunions when the kids (the "apos") were growing up. It got harder to do when they went off to college and now some of them have gotten married too. Maybe eventually they'll be the ones organizing the reunions.