How Rodjun Cruz, Maria Isabel Lopez and Mara Lopez celebrate Christmas
We have no theme for our Christmas tree this year. We just wanted to make sure the lights are bright and colorful, to capture the spirit of the season. We always ask someone to decorate our tree.
The family traditions are a lot like everyone else’s. We celebrate noche buena and attend simbang gabi together.
My mom prepares the food on Christmas Eve. We make sure we are complete and we eat together as a family. At midnight, we open our presents. Sometimes my cousins come over and we uncork a bottle of wine and exchange stories and memories all night.
For New Year’s Eve, I make it a point to set aside some money for fireworks, which amazes my family and me. Bayani San Diego Jr.
Maria Isabel Lopez and Mara Lopez
The theme for our Christmas decor this year is nostalgia.
These ornaments came from the different countries we have visited. The cones are from Lake Tahoe (Nevada). On one of the family’s ski trips, we picked the cones from the trees, baked them to fumigate and brought them home to the Philippines. The red apples/heart trinkets are from a Hong Kong trip. Some of the trimmings are from our old tree in Japan, where we lived in the 1990s. The other pieces, like the ceramic angels, are gifts from my mother in California.
The new tree is slim and trim, representing our family’s healthy lifestyle. We buy ornaments every year, but this season, we opted not to get new ones so we can donate to “Yolanda” survivors instead.
We mark the holidays with the traditional midnight mass and noche buena. After eating, we unwrap presents. We usually have steak, seafood, salad, pasta, fruitcake and puto bumbong, capped with champagne.
This year, we will have a Mediterranean noche buena feast: hummus, motabal with pita bread, Moroccan lamb tagine, lentil soup, samosas and chutney.I often spend New Year’s Eve away from my kids, Mara (22) and Ken (17). They usually join their Japanese father, surfing in La Union, while I welcome the new year with friends in Manila. Bayani San Diego Jr.
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