For us Filipinos, Christmas Eve is more special than Christmas Day itself. It's the time when we all gather around the dining table for NOCHE BUENA and around the Christmas tree to open the gifts.
We had a very busy Christmas Eve; besides preparing for our Noche Buena, we also prepared for the Christmas Drive earlier in the day.
But after preparing our home-cooked Noche Buena meal, we all geared up and heard Mass at our Parish. By the way, also saw my sportscaster crush, Boom Gonzales in Church. He even smiled and greeted me "Merry Christmas!" OH YEAH! :D
Anyway, we came home slightly before 12MN and prepared our dining table with the food our trusty helper and Mom cooked. I'd like to share what we all had during Noche Buena. :)
We already had this during my Uncle's 65th birthday. But our helper made another batch of PAELLA for us.
Since I don't eat rice, I only ate the prawns, chicken, and clams. :)
Our helper is so proud of this, she insists in calling it CHICKEN GARLIC but it's really Garlic Chicken hehe. Really good! :)
My Lola's yearly traditional Christmas food: EMBOTIDO.
I remember when I was younger my Lola would make tons of these. It's labor intensive but she does it with LOVE for all of us. She'd start early in the morning, mixing all the ingredients together. Then she'll finish late at night when everything's cooked well.
And another Filipino trademark, PANCIT.
It's a must for every celebration, and Christmas is no different! :)
PRAWNS! BIG, SWEET, AND JUICY! Need I say more? :)
Thank God it wasn't Red Tide season or else we wouldn't have clams or tahong. I swear I could finish one whole pan of this in one sitting!
For our dessert, we had Fruit Salad (a Christmas staple)
And leche flan. Not too sweet, but our helper wasn't able to beat it well so it came out hard. But it was still good!
After our sumptuous meal, it was time to open the presents. We got our helper a suitcase since she doesn't really have a drawer.
This was gift to Mom - a nice leather wallet with lots of little compartments (?) for the credit cards. I'm happy that she liked it, and she's now using it! :)
And this is her Christmas gift to me - a Nine West bag. It's cute because last year she bought me a Nine West wallet. What's next? Nine West shoes? =P
This past Christmas is really special for us in the family. One, because it's our helper's last Christmas because she's getting married next year. And two, because we finally got to celebrate Christmas in our OWN HOME. We should all thank God for the blessings we have received, not only the gifts we received, but also like having the family together this Christmas. I really hope and pray that this is going to be the first of many happy Christmases in this house.
Hope you guys had a MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH YOUR FAMILIES! :) To our relatives, we MISS YOU GUYS! One day, let's all have a grand Christmas celebration where we're all present and all together! WE LOVE YOU!! :)