Life in America

Merry and Bright (Christmas 2016 Part 2)

So what we did this Christmas? Hard question. 

A LOT (…and ate a lot)

I really don’t know where to start. We decided to have two Christmas days. It’s possible to do that way if you and your husband want to have your own and then you also want to celebrate with the rest of the family. Also it’s fun… why not let’s just have Christmas Day everyday. Lol. I remember waking up so excited the morning of December 23. I was buzzing with excitement from head to toes (I can hardly wait to open my gifts and to finally know what is inside the “this is rock” gift. We started our day eating our breakfast in a local diner near the Asian store we were really planning to visit that morning to buy more Jasmine tea for my in-laws. We will be spending the weekend and another Christmas Day with them. Actually, from December 24 to 26. Their house is just two hours drive.

I started my beautiful morning by drinking hot chocolate. It is so cold outside… such a perfect moment. 

We also ordered a hearty American breakfast. Toasts, omelette and hash browns. 

This is the local American diner we went to. I love the look of Christmas lights and poinsettias in the place. It wasn’t busy that morning and we had a lovely breakfast or should I say brunch. Lol.

We went to the Asian store as planned but because we truly don’t have nothing to do and we want to open our gifts after dinner. We felt a little bit adventurous and spontaneous so I suggested why not take the city street car. It is an electric train with only one route that goes to the Union Station and back to the front of the Asian store and oh, the best part is IT’S FREE.

Excuse me if I say this, I haven’t taken a shower yet at that time because I was just expecting to eat breakfast at the diner and visit the Asian store (plus, it’s cold). Anyways, I was just wearing my house pants and a sweater which has tiny holes in it. So every time there’s a cold breeze or a strong cold wind… I was kinda freezing to death lol. Good thing, I have my gloves stored in my bag so it was a big help.

We didn’t have to wait long and I like it that you can see in a small screen how many minutes left before the street car arrives.

It was both our first time riding the city street car. It wasn’t that crowded which is great. Most people stay inside their houses during holidays. It was such a smooth ride. There’s also a stop button lol. You don’t have to speak or yell like how we do it when riding jeepneys lol.

The last stop is the Union Station (the kids and the young at hearts like me love this place). Alright,  I will let the pictures do the talking.

Kansas City is the home of Hallmark. So we went to the Hallmark place which is called the “Crown Center”. It’s just a walking distance from the Union Station. They also love Christmas and they have no problems showing it.

They also have an outdoor ice skating rink.

The best part is I wasn’t informed that Santa Claus is coming to the “city”. Or should I say, it’s raining Santa Claus.

Maybe Santa Clauses were tired of riding the sleigh so they opt to using bikes instead. No matter what, “cool move, Santas!” 

We were tired from all the walking. So we went home, ate dinner and now… time to open presents.

Our dog “Ranger” of course also participated.

Time to open the “this is rock” gift that my hubby was so proud of concocting.

This is it! D-R-U-M-R-O-L-L

It’s really a ROCK!!! In fact, a very cool one.

It’s a lamp made of salt from Himalayan mountains. You can adjust the brightness and the main benefit is: it generates negative ions from being heated. So it’s a healing rock… so to speak.

My husband even said that “not all husbands can get away with giving a rock to his wife and his wife loves it”. He is right. I loooove it! It also adds coziness in our living room. You know, I’m a “cozy enthusiast” right? Haha.

So we went home to parents house and celebrate the Christmas weekend with them. They prepared a lot of heavenly food. My favorites are: asparagus with portobello mushrooms, sweet potato casserole and of course the homemade baked Christmas ham (a lot bigger than my head). Lol. It’s really that HUGE! (Until now, we are still eating the leftovers).

So this is how we celebrate our Christmas Day dinner.

Who wants a homemade creme brulee for dessert? ME!!!

It’s like tasting heaven in every bite. It’s that goood. Mom and my sister in law made it.

Who wants more sugar? HERE.

I bow to thee, oh sweet sugar angel!

My sister in law made this. She is so artistic if only I can steal her talent on one of her sleeps. Kidding. Lol.

So this is what American Christmas is like.

I was so oblivious that I only spotted my name on the second day of staying there lol. I love that you have your own Christmas stocking. Every member of the family has one. I was so touched. It’s personalized and feels so intimate in celebrating Christmas. That and there’s hidden gifts inside. Lol. I brought home those flowers by the way… they’re one of my gifts.

The one thing I easily recognized is that opening gifts here is a serious business. Just kidding. Haha. It is done usually either the early morning of December 25th or after the mass on the Christmas eve (midnight). We don’t have Noche Buena here… that’s Spanish tradition we Filipinos lovingly adapted. So we only have one Christmas eve dinner and I was asked if when do I want to open our gifts. I told them I would love to wait. Makes it even more exciting… 

The celebration here is quieter than in Philippines. I love how they set up the table, decorate everything and make the whole place prettier, cozier and intimate in a simple way. Just adding lighted candles on the table already has a very nice touch.

They also love to put DIY or personalized arts and crafts ornaments on the Christmas tree. Me and my husband bought ornaments from Walmart so ours is considered a Walmart Christmas tree lol. Okay- I’ll try to be more artistic next time and hopefully make our own pretty ornaments.

I was so overwhelmed with how much effort they put into looking for gifts for me. They really wanted to know you and what you like the best. They really spent time looking for the ones with hopes that it will make you so happy and they did. I am so happy I got the ones I really like for example Paris-related stuff, books of course by my favorite authors, pretty winter socks and gloves and kitchen tools. I also got a Creme Brulee set and I will be making homemade creme brulee in no time (that’s one of my little dreams in life lol). Huh- so touching and overwhelming. I just can’t thank them enough.

I also can’t thank God enough for continuously giving me so much blessings in life. I have the best family in law and a loving husband that adores me. We are similar but also different in the best way possible. A family and friends in the Philippines that we may be far away physically but not in heart and mind and we can still strongly feel presence of each other.

So THANK YOU, THANK YOU and THANK YOU to my family, friends and my dear Lord God.

To end this post… let me share our “post-opening gifts” pictures of me and our dog Ranger.

There’s beauty in the mess. Hahaha. Pardon our dog that’s how he participates (chewing boxes of course).

Oh and belated Merry Christmas!


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