When I was a kid my family used to have a family tradition of going to church then having Taiwanese porridge for lunch at Oasis Restaurant when it was located near the Indoor Stadium. I know it isn’t the most Christmas-y of meals, but white porridge with sweet potatoes will forever be a Christmas meal to me!
This year our pandemic holidays plans are pretty simple. We’ll be having a more traditional Christmas fare at my sister’s house for lunch, then we will probably pass out in a deep blissful food coma afterward on her living room floor like a family of fat, happy badgers. At night we are going to try to convince my 3-year-old son that Santa Claus will somehow enter our little flat despite its lack of a convenient chimney opening. I am not sure exactly yet how to spin it for our particular Asian setting. Maybe Santa Claus has a spare key? 🧐
At Christmas, I usually visit my family in Davao City, Philippines for two weeks. I come from quite a big family so our holidays are always very festive and full of celebration. Our Christmas eves are also very exciting, we will go for Christmas mass at 7 pm and Noche Buena which is Christmas Eve dinner full of our favorite foods and of course Lechon (the whole roasted pig), non-stop karaoke and exchange gifts. When the clock strikes midnight, everyone will shout and yell Christmas greetings and dad will turn the car horn on for a few minutes and there will be fireworks. The whole neighborhood is very noisy!!! Seriously!! It’s crazy!!
We encourage our 3-year-old niece to jump in celebration (it’s a superstitious belief to make her taller. She’s adorable!). On Christmas Day, relatives will come over and continue Karaoke and drinking with the boys and the ladies will have their spot on the table to catch up. Christmas truly is the best time of the year to spend with loved ones.
This year it is better and safe that I’ll stay here for Christmas, unfortunately, the Philippines is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. So Christmas this year will be different because I don’t have a family here but I will still celebrate Christmas in my own way. I’ll still go to church and I’ll spend time with my cousins and friends too although I will miss my Mum’s home-cooked dishes this year…