This started when I was a little girl, in grade school, and during Christmas we would have two big parties. One with my cousins on my mother's side and another one with my cousins on the father's side. During the parties, all of us cousins had to sing/dance/recite something before we could get our gifts, which were actually just plastic toys or candy gaily wrapped in Christmas wrapper.
My Lola Agre had a sari-sari store which I used to mind after school and during weekends. When Christmas came, I came upon what I thought was a brilliant idea to liven up our parties and our Christmas trees. I wrapped her goods for sale like a bar of soap, a tube of toothpaste, a box of matches and the like and I wrote on tags on little pieces of paper dedications like: To Albert from Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, To Gasparito from Snow White, To Christine from Cinderella.
I remember being so excited when on Christmas day the first mystery gifts were read out loud and they were all surprised and wondering from whom could the gifts have come from! I don't know if they just feigned surprise but actually knew that I wrapped those paninda. Whatever the truth was, I was so inspired by their positive response that every year I would wrap more and more "mystery gifts" and even included wrapping stones for variety. I discovered that I loved wrapping gifts. I could wrap and wrap the whole day and night if need be.
Through the years the family has grown and each year there are more and more gifts to wrap. There were several Christmases when, due to circumstances, we almost cancelled the annual family reunion and exchange of gifts but somehow each year this tradition still managed to push thru. This is a picture from the one we had last December.
We might not be able to have one this year because a cousin is getting married after Christmas so everyone's going to be busy with that. But who knows...
An advanced Merry Christmas to you all!
And most especially to Merry Cherry who is hosting TBR 22!