Monday, January 02, 2006
How our Christmas holidays went
This Christmas must have been my least stressful one, though probably one of my busiest. I started putting up Christmas decors on Remembrance Day, a holiday (November 11). Little by little, I added decors here and there and by middle of December, I was quite pleased with what I had done.
Gift buying was a different story. As much as I would have wanted to do it early, I had to work around my budget. Still, I got everyone a gift a few days before Christmas Eve and had Gabriel and Markus buying everyone a gift too from the two of them. They enjoyed picking out their gifts, more like token gifts, from the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart. They were willing to use up whatever little cash they had, but of course, I had to cover the slack. Markus insisted on getting me a nice pink wristwatch from Wal-Mart that was already beyond his “budget”.
Gabriel was a bit embarrassed that they were only buying little (and cheap) items. “Mom, who would want to get gifts from the dollar store?” he asked a few times.
“They know you don’t have a job. They will appreciate whatever you can give,” I assured him. “You should keep this tradition of gift-giving in the family,” I told the two. “When you grow up and have your own money, you can buy better gifts, not Dollar Store ones.”
Markus spent one evening wrapping their gifts. It was so fun watching him do it in a very childlike manner – no fuss, no frills – just getting everything covered with gift paper. Me, I prefer to use gift bags.
We spent Christmas Eve at Ate Ma’s. Including family from Seattle and the UK, there were about 19 of us. There were lots of food, as usual. I brought my Magic Mic and we had fun singing for hours. This was the first time we had karaoke in our family parties here in Canada.
Christmas Day, we went back for lunch at Ate Ma’s, then late afternoon till evening, we were at my niece Grace’s house in Vancouver. There were more of us with the presence of my nieces' BFs. More eating and more karaoke.
Amazing how my family loves to sing. People were shy with the mic, but as soon as one held it and the music played, everyone sang. There were even back up parts, you know, the choo-chu-waah, and second voice or harmony. Gino and I were the more thick-skinned ones, and we each scored 100's too! The trick is to sing loud, not necessarily good…Mickey did not sing on the karaoke but he gamely played the guitar and sang Tagalog pop songs -- his first public performance in front of the family.
December 26 was my grandniece Joey’s second birthday. She is the youngest in the clan and is visiting from the UK with Mom Nats and Dad Joel. We went to Ate Ma’s house again for her party. More eating and more karaoke.
The next few days were spent digesting the food and drinks we binged on for three days straight. I did not want to cook nor eat anymore…
Ed, my brother-in-law from Seattle stayed behind for a couple of days after Ate Lan and E-A went back home. Being in the reno and construction business, he did handyman work at each of our homes. I had him see what could be done to my disgusting linoleum floor in the kitchen. He suggested vinyl tiles and I immediately drove to Home Depot and got two boxes of Newport stick-on tiles. (And I thought I was done going to the hardware store for 2005!) He came over one night and installed some tiles in the middle of the kitchen. I did the rest the following two days. I love my kitchen floor now. Looks neat and pretty.
December 31, I was cleaning the washroom downstairs in preparation for the New Year’s Eve party at my place when I had the urge to do the floors as well. With the leftover tiles from the kitchen, I did the washroom floor too! I wanted the two floors to match and I couldn’t wait till after the New Year. I still need 10 more tiles to complete the washroom.
The last day of 2005 seemed to stretch on and I was able to do many things including changing the washroom floor. I started cooking in the morning, drove to two supermarkets for last minute grocery shopping, did more cooking and cleaning. (Thanks, Mick for vacuuming.)
Finally, family started coming at around 8 pm. We ate in installments while waiting for the strike of 12 midnight. Except for Ate Lanie’s family who had returned to Seattle, it was the same people who were partying for the fourth time. We always enjoy the New Year countdown and midnight meal. Everyone greets, hugs and kisses everyone, watches fireworks on TV. After people left, I cleaned the kitchen till about 2 am then slept soundly.
January 1, we attended church then headed to Ate Ma’s house again for lunch. More food and six(!) hours of karaoke. I got to sing only once and let them hog the mic. By this time, they had shed off their timidity with the mic and they sang to their heart’s (and ear’s) content. Me, I dozed in and out of sleep in between more eating. We stayed till dinner and left feeling like fattened cows (well, that’s how I felt…)
Our Christmas holidays were a lot of fun, but I am now eager to go back to work tomorrow and to the gym tonight!! I want to shed off whatever weight I had gained from too much eating. I will enjoy our decors for a few more days and take them down on the weekend.
2006 is looking great for me, regardless of how it appears (go figure…)