December 25, 2018. Our first CHRISTmas in our new home. Fulfilled my simple Christmas dream of having freshly baked walnut brownies for breakfast. My husband and son had the chance to finally play with our new red football outdoors while I stayed home with our little girl as she takes a nap. To cool off, all of us had a dip in the pool and played a few games. We ate a very late lunch leisurely at home while watching a movie on TV. Went to the mall a couple of hours before its closing time to play at the arcade, visit the toy store, and do some errands. Had our simple Christmas dinner at our all-time favourite restaurant before heading home. 

As part of my journey to minimalism, I made an effort to make my most favourite time of the year (next to our birthdays) to be stress-free as much as possible. On December 24, I just cooked two dishes – Lumpiang Hubad and Oven-Baked Pork Belly – for our Noche Buena. The kids had ripe mangoes for dessert. At Christmas Eve, hubby and I enjoyed a big bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling wine while the kids were opening our gifts for them. 

We woke up late the next morning and took out the box of Betty Crocker’s Supreme Brownie Mix, which I have been saving for Christmas breakfast. I wanted my son to wake up to the aroma of walnuts and chocolates in my effort to make Christmas morning a bit magical for my kids. Also, I wanted to eliminate the smell of roasted pork that has been in the air since the day before. While waiting for the brownies to bake, my Hubs cooked our favourite instant stir-fried noodles to go with our instant coffee. See? It really is a simple breakfast! Our little girl, who almost always wakes up the moment I touch the handle of our bedroom door, was enjoying her wafers with us. 

By the time my son woke up, we were finished cleaning up the table and his sister was already playing with her new toys. I cheerfully greeted my son, “Merry Christmas! I baked walnut brownies for us!” He smiled and greeted us too. He stayed in bed and played alongside his sister for a while before he finally got up. In between bites and sips, he went to and from the bedroom to enjoy his much-awaited Christmas toys. We’re so proud of how he waited for more than a month to open those gifts! We bought their presents way in advance and placed them on top of our closet where they can see them each day. A week before Christmas, I placed the wrapped presents under our tree and he never made an attempt to open those packages. He even “protected” their presents from his ever curious little sister and told her that they will open them on Christmas Eve. 

All sweaty from football and playing at the playground, my husband and son announced that we are all going for a swim before having lunch. Armed with our kids’ floaters, walnut brownies, potato rings, apple juice, wafer for our toddler and salted crackers for our big kid, we trooped to the pool and braved the cool waters. We didn’t last long in the pool but we had fun swimming, mostly floating, and chasing each other around. After eating our snacks, we got up and headed upstairs since we’re shivering in the cold air. 

And because we had late breakfast, past 10:30 in the morning, we also had lunch at 5ish – snack time for most people. Very late, huh? I always tell people that we’re on a different time zone 😜 We ate the same thing that we had the day before while watching a movie on TV. It was a long movie which made eating longer than usual. We ended up leaving for the mall a little later as planned. It was a good thing though, because by the time we got there, it isn’t crowded anymore. 

We had Christmas dinner at North Park and had our usuals. We were supposed to have dessert at a coffee shop near our place but my tummy wouldn’t cooperate (sorry, TMI) and my husband was having too much of a sniffle so we headed straight home. The kids played some more while on the bed before they finally fell asleep. 

Relaxed. Unhurried. We were finally able to enjoy Christmas Day by really spending time with each other the whole day. Hoping we can do it again next year. 

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