11 Dec2006


Holiday mode is in fourth gear at Marketmanila. After a two day hiatus as we were in the midst of holiday dinners and preparations the last few days and my sister has just left early this morning to go back to NY, I have a ton of posts that I need to write. If I can manage to write them all up I should have several posts every day until Christmas…so check in often! First up, the trimmings… I have to admit that I love everything local when it comes to Christmas – misa de gallo, kakanins, cool weather, get-togethers, and the month-long jolly spirit… but I am a bit schizophrenic and have embraced many, many western traditions as well, after living over a third of my life in the U.S. and elsewhere and spending many a holiday on other shores. One of the things that we just have to have in the house during the holidays is candy canes…. Ever since I was 10 years old, we always seemed to have these small candy canes in the house at Christmas…

The color, smell, taste of candy canes is something that screams Christmas for me. I use them for décor, I use them in gingerbread creations, sometimes crumbled in cookies, canes2on our tree, centerpieces, wreaths, as last minute give-aways to visiting kids or just simply left out in bowls for anyone who wants some. In the past, our supplies were sent by relatives or we purchased them at the U.S. bases, or someone hand carried them from Hong Kong. Today, believe it or not, they are available just about everywhere…or at least at the major malls. These ones in the attractive boxes above were at Megamall and all SM branches near their toy section and they were an amazing PHP75 a box! No hassle sending them in from the States… just buy them here. Bizarrely, they are made in China (what isn’t these days) and they often have no flavor (peppermint oil is pricey), unlike the real McCoys, but they serve their purpose to add a touch of the holidays to our home. I stocked up the other day and got several boxes. Another western doodad we always have for the holidays are Christmas crackers…

An English tradition, I think, these wrapped up cylinders “pop” when you pull them apart and they expose a little gift inside. They are meant for holiday parties and our daughter has always looked for them ever since she could pull them apart herself. Always in a nice canes3holiday tartan, the crackers add a festive touch to a holiday table. My best tip here? Buy them the day after Christmas if you live in the U.S. or the U.K. and store them in your basement until the following year. That way you get the doodads but at 60-80% off retail… just make sure the ones you buy don’t have candy or perishables in them… If you really want to go upscale, I understand members of the “upper crust” resort to really luxurious crackers from say Asprey that have little silver trinkets inside… In a pinch, you can make similar crackers here at home, but I am not sure how you get the firecracker pop mechanism to work… These are the ultimate grown-up party favor, I suppose. Finally, every Christmas means putting up the tree…and we try to add a few ornaments every year. This year the added ornaments were a gift, six large blown glass ornaments of chefs or cooks such as the one in the photo here… Adds a nice touch to the Marketman Family Tree, don’t you think?



  1. Marilou says:

    I’m with you on this one, I love the Christmas season too!! I will be checking your blog everyday for ideas…keep them coming!

    Dec 11, 2006 | 8:02 am


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  3. millet says:

    the candy canes have no flavor? candy canes with no peppermint? and i was just about to get myself a bunch of these, to smash and put on my choco-chip cookies and double choco-chip brownies. thanks for the heads up, MM. there are big, pangit-looking canes at SM, too,but I’vce tried them before and they taste pepperminty, so I might as well get them again.

    Dec 11, 2006 | 10:41 am

  4. millet says:

    love the chef ornaments, MM. where did you get them, if you don’t mind?

    Dec 11, 2006 | 10:45 am

  5. Marketman says:

    Millet, ornaments were sent to us as a present, I think they were from Williams Sonoma, after-season mark-downs from last year…

    Dec 11, 2006 | 10:56 am

  6. Mandy says:

    there used to be an old British lady in our church who used to make and sell these crackers for christmas. i saw a bunch in marks and spencer’s as well. i wonder how it’s made to pop? :) that’d be so much fun for the kids! :)

    yuk, candycanes with no peppermint flavor? kaya pala mura lang.

    Dec 11, 2006 | 2:00 pm

  7. Jacqui says:

    And I thought these were exploding ones. Just the other day, my preschooler (oldest of my brood) came running to me in the store with a box of this in his hand yelling, “Nanay, can you buy me this?” I was aghast (as I vividly remember pictures and tv footages of mangled limbs during New Year’s Eve back home) and responded almost at a shriek, “absolutely not!”.

    Am I glad I read this post before retiring for the night! Tomorrow, I have to make it up to the little guy. Thank you, Marketman.

    Dec 11, 2006 | 2:41 pm

  8. tulip says:

    The chef ornament is cute! I have to agree with having candy canes and all sorts of candies stocked during Christmas time.And Marketman, I was actually inspired when you made gingerbread house for a kid early this year that I considered doing my first gingerbread village in humid Manila over the weekend for my family’s yearly adopt-a-child for Christmas project. We’ll be having bunch of kids from the streets of Mandaluyong to celebrate Christmas with and hope to cheer them up! I am actually thinking how I can possibly even make the gingerbread for the unfortunate kids of Bicol, we will be visiting them before Christmas and send them immediate help and medical teams.
    Thanks to you Marketman and family for the added inspiration.

    Dec 11, 2006 | 3:39 pm

  9. atwe says:

    candy canes for 75 pesos?!? wah! and i just bought four boxes to handcarry and paid too much pa. A box in Hong Kong (branded nga lang so has peppermint flavor) cost me HK$20 (PhP120.00). Geez, now I know better. So thanks for another tip, MM.

    how much do the christmas crackers sell for? the cheapest here costs about PhP620 per dozen. they’re actually easy to make, but who has the time?

    Dec 11, 2006 | 6:37 pm

  10. Maria Clara says:

    I keep them at my desk boxful of them and keep replenishing the box until the last working day before Christmas. They are good taste cleanser after greasy foods.

    Dec 12, 2006 | 2:08 am

  11. fried-neurons says:

    I have to agree with you about the cheap candy canes from China. No flavor. All sugar. Boring.

    Dec 12, 2006 | 4:02 pm

  12. carol says:

    I got great-tasting peppermint candy canes at Shopwise, made in Mexico, for P131 for 18 pieces. There were even Nickelodeon, Lifesavers & choco-peppermint ones that were more expensive.

    Dec 12, 2006 | 10:29 pm

  13. stef says:

    notmartha recently featured a how-to on these english crackers


    i was researching it so i can make some with the kids, but this is just not the time of year for me to be crafty, i’m always in the kitchen!

    there are supplies here:


    but i lucked out and found nice ones for 50% off at Cost Plus World Market — for those of you here in the US…

    Dec 14, 2006 | 5:15 am

  14. Marketman says:

    Thanks for those links, stef!

    Dec 14, 2006 | 6:00 am


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