It wasn’t just a week or two ago. Mrs. MM and I were dangerously “behind schedule” and what is normally a whole season of planning and preparation that starts with lists in August or September(!) was turning into a constant “maybe next week” as we were very busy with other things. But nothing in our 21 years of marriage, has EVER fully derailed Christmas, and it wasn’t going to happen this year either… So a couple of weeks ago, we put on full battle gear and tried to make up for lost time. Even the Teen pitched in with her first ginormous gingerbread creation, more on that on another post.
The crew are our secret weapon(s), some of them have been with us since we moved back to Manila full-time nearly 18 years ago. They specialize, some in gingerbread, others in flowers, some in jams, jellies and baking, wrapping, etc. They’ve seen it done time and again, and they are extremely reliable. We also have part-time crew for dinners, folks who have served at our tables for nearly two decades. The crew have pulled together two dozen farols or paper lanterns, that were hung beside our front door… along with garlands with traditional fairy lights (I know the LED ones are more politically correct, but I can’t stand the quality of white or yellow light they emit)…
Eighteen more farols were hung just outside our dining room, so guests at upcoming dinners would see them gently swaying the breeze. They were lit from above with more Christmas fairy lights.
Lots of potted poinsettias are in copper pots…
…or old ceramic planters all around the living and dining areas.
The tree is also up, fully decorated with just the addition of several mirrored balls acquired at Shoemart a couple of weeks ago. I stayed up late one night to write out holiday dinner menus, plan dishes, rush around Manila in mounting holiday traffic to fill the larder and this entire weekend has been devoted to making things ahead… cookies, pie crusts, pates, bread, etc. It all sounds so rushed and harried, but oddly, I really LIKE this time of year, so it doesn’t feel like a chore at all.
And nearly 90% of the gifts under the tree were wrapped by the crew, in over 30 different kinds of wrapping paper, and almost all with a full bowed ribbon. If you’re wondering about the abundant volume of presents this early in the season, most of the gifts are FOR the crew and their 40+ family members and friends they invite to the annual MM Staff Christmas Party which we have scheduled just before Christmas Eve this year.