15 Dec2013


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.



  1. Khew says:

    That tree is a sight to behold!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 10:30 am


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  3. Mimi says:

    So jealous of your tree! I still cannot decorate a tree to look like yours even with all your tips! I still need to amass more ornaments to make it look “hitik na hitik!”

    Dec 15, 2013 | 10:59 am

  4. kristin says:

    Merry Christmas!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 5:39 pm

  5. florisa says:

    I love your tree! parang ang saya saya tignan.

    Dec 15, 2013 | 5:53 pm

  6. m says:

    Love the paper lanterns! Such a beautiful sight!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 7:44 pm

  7. Betchay says:

    Great entrance door decoration….so inviting! Can I copy the idea for Xmas next year? :)

    Dec 15, 2013 | 9:09 pm

  8. millet says:

    love the entryway..so festive! and yes, i agree with you on the LED lights…somehow, i find their light too “sharp”, if there is such a thing. merry christmas, mr. and mrs. MM, the teen, and the crew! and to all readers here!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 11:21 pm

  9. Cwid says:

    I wish we had paper lanterns here — love them! A merry christmas to you, your family and the crew!

    Dec 16, 2013 | 2:02 am

  10. tnm says:

    Simply beautiful, elegant and worth emulating. Maligayang Pasko to my favorite blogger.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 2:46 am

  11. natie says:

    YEY!!! The Tree!! I love the black and white box among other wooden ones and the mother and child(?) carved decor. A fedora on The Teen! Bravo on the lanterns and flowers!! Maybe I should dare make a white star lantern with barbecue sticks… :)

    Dec 16, 2013 | 7:54 am

  12. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    You know what they say…’simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 8:09 am

  13. ami says:

    Though our Christmas lights have been up for 2 weeks already we’ve probably only turned it on 3 times only because of the Meralco power hike. :(

    Dec 16, 2013 | 10:09 am

  14. pixienixie says:

    I love the Christmas tree! It’s very traditional, none of those weird colors and decor I often see in other trees.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 2:32 pm

  15. Papa Ethan says:

    natie, you can try those bamboo skewers intended for chicken barbecue (available at most groceries and supermarkets). These are longer than the usual barbecue sticks for pork. Plus, the sticks are polished and round, unlike the square bamboo sticks sold at wet markets that may still have sharp edges which can give you a really nasty cut. Longer sticks are easier to bend than the shorter ones.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 5:36 pm

  16. shiko-chan says:

    thanks for the glimpse into your home, even lovelier than usual this time of year!

    (maybe LED lights are not so much “politically correct” as environment friendly though–they’re more expensive to acquire but i hear they are much more energy-efficient. “i hear” because i haven’t tried them myself yet. i use rice lights which (though i should google to confirm this) seem to be a cheaper middle ground :) because if i’m not mistaken/blind the lights you’ve pictured are the old-fashioned pointy kind. :)

    Dec 16, 2013 | 7:51 pm

  17. natie says:

    Thanks for this tip, Papa Ethan! Will look for the longer bamboo skewers. Maybe, practice with the small ones first. I also have to practice on making those elegant “tails” .. Let me see if my memory is still as sharp as my scissors…

    Dec 16, 2013 | 9:56 pm

  18. Meg says:

    Very lovely and festive entrance MM. I wish I’m home in the Philippines to celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas MM and family and also to your crew.

    Dec 17, 2013 | 6:55 am

  19. corrine says:

    Nice! Love it.

    Dec 17, 2013 | 11:04 pm


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