Sometimes I am ambivalent about Christmas. It makes me both happy and sad. Sometimes it makes me sad when I think of those people who do not have a family they can share it with.
Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year for some people. Some would rather that it disappears as quickly as it came. I do not blame them. Christmas is no longer defined by Christ but by the shopping center so, if I were just on my own, with nobody, no friends, no family to spend it with, I would rather it goes quickly as it came. Knowing this, we have invited several strangers to dine in our home.
When I was kid, what really made me happy with Christmas were not the toys, it was the festivity in my parent's home. It reminds me of all of my extended family, my uncles and aunties and cousins busying themselves with the preparation. That was really the fun part because as they prepare, they all talk about things with their joking and kidding around. The of course you smell the food.
It reminds me of my granddad and most of all my grandmother. She was the master cook of our clan. Christmas in my home was the time my grandmother Martha would cook those special Christmas meals I never get to taste except - well, except during Christmas. She was our super cook.
Since we celebrate Christmas in the eve of Christmas, the whole day is spent cooking and so preparing for the meals start off early. Then come midnight, our "noche buena", we all sit together and eat what grandma cooked. It was well, just so swell. Then it won't be complete if we did not have that traditional cocoa drink (pictured here) with our sweets, our much loved famous sweetened purple yam (pictured here).
That chocolate drink comes in small round pieces called "tablea". My grandma would boil it and churn it with a churning stick shown above. She would slow cook it and as it slowly boils she would patiently church it and churn it.
I taught my wife how prepare and drink "tablea" the way I learned it from grandma Martha. Drinking "tablea" then has been passed on to my children. So tonight, just as it is warm when we drink it, it also warms my heart in remembering with fondness my grandparents who indirectly taught me that the fun part of Christmas togetherness that it brings.