Christmas Cake

It’s two days before Christmas, and this has been the craziest Christmas season I’ve ever had. For some reason, everyone’s just out these past few days, and it’s crazy on my part of the world. Not to mention that a friend is also getting married today, and sometimes I can’t help but wish they picked another time to get married because this year’s Christmas rush isn’t that kind.

But I shouldn’t be focusing on those things because…well, it’s Christmas! And despite the Christmas rush, it’s still the most wonderful time of the year. :)

I can’t really remember how I got to this tradition, but since 2006, I’ve always made sure that there’s a cake on our Christmas dinner (we call it noche buena in the Philippines). Our nochebuena has been fairly simple for the past few years. We’re a pretty small family, anyway, so there’s no need for too much food on the table. We usually have a bucket of KFC chicken, a pasta dish and one viand and some rice. We’d bake some brownies too, but we hardly eat them because when we bake brownies, we give them away. You can only bake so many brownies before you get sick of them, and eating them would surely tip the scales. ;) But anyway, it’s pretty simple, but one Christmas, I brought home a cake. You see, Christmas really isn’t just eating or gift-giving, but a birthday. It is Jesus’ birthday, after all.

Sometimes we all get so caught up in the Christmas rush that we forget the reason for the season. That phrase, “reason for the season” is actually becoming cliche already, but I try to remember that every year. It’s easy to be excited about giving and receiving gifts and all the parties, but I always try to slow down as Christmas approaches and remember why I am celebrating in the first place. And I know a cake is just a small thing, but I always make sure there’s one on our table for Christmas, to celebrate the birthday. And I don’t know about you, but birthdays are always more fun with cake, right? :)

And here’s a story. I wrote this a couple of years ago, about a group of friends having their Christmas dinner. And there’s some cake. And maybe a little romance. :) Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a blessed and merry Christmas!

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I don’t know why I allowed myself to endure what I had just gone through. I like shopping, yes, but shopping when everyone else in the world also has the same idea and this late in the season? Let’s just say it wasn’t my best idea. This is one of the times online shopping should have saved me, but contrary to popular belief, you can’t always find what you need on the Internet.

“I swear, I am never doing that again!”

Seven pairs of eyes turned to look at me as I entered my Pia’s Kitchen. Jostling with the crowd and lining up in all the stores cost me so much time that I had to resort to buying the nicest paper bags I can find to put everything I bought in and going straight to my best friend’s restaurant where my friends were waiting for me for dinner.

“What happened to you, Ruth?” Naomi asked. She and Ian stood up to help me carry all the packages I carried in my arms. My sister took the paper bags that hung from my fingers and put it on the table where all other brightly wrapped packages lay, while Ian took the tray of lasagna I was carrying and brought it to the table where all our other friends sat.

“Shopping. Crowds. That’s what happened,” I said, dropping onto the free seat. I sighed with relief as my aching feet finally got to rest. “I will never, ever do that again.”

“You always say that,” my best friend and the owner of the restaurant, Pia, teased.

“I am serious this time,” I declared. Naomi returned to the table with a glass of water which I gratefully received.

“Bad crowds huh?” Carol said with a grin.

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