Today is the time for last minute gift wrapping and shopping. Ariel and I drove as early as 6:45am to the SM Bacoor Supermarket to buy food items for the Noche Buena. Then I slaved away in the kitchen the whole day to cook for both the Noche Buena feast and the Christmas Day celebration with my cousins.
By 9:00pm, I started roasting the baby back ribs in the oven. It was tender and ready for the hot coals by 11:30pm, just in time for the midnight feast. I also prepared some buttered corn, baked mashed potatoes, grilled boneless bangus (fish is a must have for my dad), almondigas soup and macaroni salad. My brother and his wife arrived at 12:30am in time to join us for dinner.
At 1am, we exchanged gifts and took some photos. My parents and brother left at around half past one. Ariel and I stayed a bit longer and had some wine and cheese. Then it was our turn to exchange gifts. No surprises there. We got each other things we both want. In fact, Ariel was with me when I bought his Northface Backpack and Onitsuka Shoes, while I gave him the contact details for the local vendor of Copic Markers.
All in all, it was one fine Christmas Eve. When I was growing up, we didn't celebrate Noche Buena. Christmas Day is a bigger occasion as it was the time for a mini-reunion with some of my cousins, aunts and uncles. When Ariel and I got married and we didn't have a house yet, we would join Ariel's parents on Christmas Eve and then join my side of the family on Christmas Day. But when we built our own house, we started our own Noche Buena tradition. Our parents, siblings and their families now join us for Noche Buena.
My feet were aching by the time we got to bed. I was standing up in the kitchen practically all day but it was very rewarding to see the satisfied faces of my family as they partake of the feast I prepared for them. Looking forward to next year's Noche Buena!