Don’t forget to have some eggnog and hot choco on the side
(The Philippine Star) - December 19, 2015 - 9:00am

It can only be God.  Here I am on a rainy December day, surrounded by nice paper and ribbons and double-sided tape in our dining table, Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong singing to me from my music playlist, and this package arrives. A lovely thing, truly. I saw it first in July, but it seemed too indulgent to make a go for it. There were more important things to spend on. But here it is now, mine to have. I have to pinch myself to know that this is real. Oh, wow. It found its way to me, and no one even knew it was a desire of my heart. Thank you, God. I will treasure it, as I feel it is as much from you as it is from the person you touched to give it to me.

Also, earlier this week, this beautiful bowl of blushing cherries landed on our doorstep. It came in this gorgeous carved crystal bowl. My heart did a happy little dance when I saw it. Cherries make me happy, but this beautiful bowl with deep grooves was what my heart wanted just last week when I was buying toys for the toddlers on my Christmas list. I saw it in a shop and came so close to buying it for myself. But again: too indulgent. Always, there were better things to spend on. But then again, it found its way to me. Mine to have and enjoy. It now sits very prettily on a table in our living room, filled with chocolates wrapped in shiny gold foil.  Again, it had to be God. I’ve had many such experiences. Of denying myself something beautiful to give way and spend the same amount of funds for other people only to have that something beautiful find its way to me somehow still. It awes me no end. Thank you, God.

I am enjoying Christmas. There is still a week or so before I can categorically sum up the year that was but suffice to say that it was a bit of a challenge for me on some fronts. I was telling my 15-year-old Juliana this and she said 2105 was a very good year for her. I am happy it is so for her. That said, I pray 2016 will be gentler.

Right now, for the whole stretch of December and all the way till it spills over in the first part of January, the first order of each day is to enjoy the season for what it is and who it is for. The baby Jesus. Time mindfully spent with family and friends. The joy of being together, breaking bread together. Those are the real gifts. The ones that come packaged in shiny paper and pretty ribbons are but icing on the cake. I would love to be caught up in the whirlwind that is a busy kitchen, the chatter of stories competing with the tinkling of plates and utensils, all those memories to be made around the dinner table. And oh, the fruitcake. The fruitcake that I eat all year round. I love it. Add to that all the Christmas songs. 

My five-year-old nephew, Valiant, every few days leaves a little present for Santa under the tree. On the first day it was a pack of Oreo cookies, a glass of water, one piece of chocolate. I asked why there was water. He said Santa might be thirsty by the time he reaches our house. How thoughtful of him. Santa leaves a little something for him in his stocking.  The first day it was a plastic car in blue, yesterday it was miniature wooden fruits. Last night, he left for Santa another tray, and on it was a carrot, a cucumber, pieces of chocolate wrapped in foil, a pack of Chiz Curls, a glass of very cold water. They talk from time to time over the phone. But Santa confided to Valiant’s Lola and Mommy that he is having a bit of a problem because Valiant is insisting on doing FaceTime. And Santa is not yet ready to do FaceTime. I don’t think he will ever be. I heard him ask Santa to ground his Yaya Chela also, for what offense I have yet to find out.

I will finally have time this week to get down to wrapping gifts and writing Christmas cards. They are all in, I just need to sort them out and schedule deliveries. However the Christmas season finds you now, I hope it is with a peace and gentle joy that makes you feel all fuzzy and warm in the heart. And yes, don’t forget to have some eggnog and hot chocolate on the side.

BUT SANTA CHIZ CURLS CHRISTMAS ELLA FITZGERALD AND LOUIE ARMSTRONG FIRST HERE I HOWEVER THE CHRISTMAS JULIANA LOLA OREO SANTA
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