First of all, Mom being alone in the US and all of us being here... that's sad. But still, the fact that my previous and my present families are all alive (almost) and well can't help but make me happy.
And then Dad had this very unwelcome idea of ending a Christmas tradition we've established with our cousins in Lipa. He opted to just come to Manila for Noche Buena instead of having us Manila-based folks going to Lipa. So after seven years of spending Noche Buena with them and watching them open gifts and line up for loot bags, we had to celebrate it again here and do all the cooking ourselves. See, it was always potluck in Lipa.
Still, cooking up the Noche Buena feast brought back memories of old Christmases when we'd all wake up on December 24 to my Mom's cooking. She starts on them very early so that after the Mass, we'd just reheat stuff or fry/cook what's already marinated.
And in the end, we all pitched in.
I mostly drank hot cocoa. My brother ate half the ham in one go, as usual.
All in all, I am very grateful for this Christmas. And really grateful for my family.