Christmas to me starts on Thanksgiving Day when I dutifully take out the Christmas cards, review and update my address book and then start writing my messages. On a regular year, these cards would be sent out just before I leave for my flight to Manila. This year, when I opted out of a long holiday trip, the timelines are more relaxed.
And as Christmas day comes closer, the social calendar gets busy. Holiday parties at work, dinner dates with friends and friends of friends - people who become my family away from my own.
Funny how this year I thought I had everything and everyone covered but this week I still ended up doing some frantic last minute shopping, mostly for kids. There were a lot of great deals, though which makes me worry that these stores would have now way of surviving if this early they are selling off their wares at less than 50% off - rates you'd often see in January. K-B Toys is closing, my favorite noodle house on 88th is closed and there will be fewer Circuit City stores without the one on 86th. These are the signs of the times and it is worrying. But with the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack playing in the ipod stuck to my ears, I finished all gift-giving endeavors and sat down to cheerfully wrap everything with the expertise I learned from watching the staff at Rustan's and Shoemart in Manila.
On Christmas Day I will host lunch and I have finalized my menu : roasted cornish hens will be my main dish (mini turkeys?!?). We will also be hosting post-Christmas dinner on Friday night at my friend's house in NJ but to minimize the stress, we are ordering the whole meal for that one.
I am excited about this Christmas. I have the fresh fragrant tree in my apartment lit up in bright colors and giving me my worst asthma attack in my lifetime (who else can be allergic to Christmas trees???). There was snow for a while but my hopes of a white Christmas was just shot down by the forecast of rain on the 25th. And most of all, I am excited about kicking back and just relaxing and taking things easy. No stress, no drama.
I wish you all a very very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year in 2009, from my family in the Philippines and myself, with all our love.