From the Philippines to Huntsville | Aissa's Christmas Traditions

TSG Huntsville Contributing Editor Aissa Castillo with her sweet husband Cesar and their two boys.

Cue “Christmas Time Is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas. There is something about the holidays that make most people happy. For me, it’s the sense of family, the decorations, and endless munching around the dinner table (or anywhere really).

Growing up in the Philippines, we start celebrating Christmas in September and the celebration lasts until the beginning of January. Christmas carols are heard on the radio and on the streets as Christmas carolers travel from one house to the other to spread Christmas cheer. The streets dripping in lights and a special lantern called the parol. (Learn to make one of these special lanterns here).

Photo from Pinterest.

Although celebrating here in the US is slightly different, I still try to adapt some of the Christmas traditions I grew up with.

Midnight Mass

We attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve to signify the end of the nine-day mass series leading up to Christmas called “Simbang Gabi” (Night Mass).

Nativity Set, Garland, and Tinsel Tree from Noble Passage, Faux Pine Tree from South & Pine Home.

Noche Buena (Good Night)

After midnight mass is midnight feast (remember the “munching around the table” comment?). Aside from traditional Filipino dishes, we would typically also have ham, cheese, or queso de bola and hot chocolate made from tableya. (More about this kind of hot chocolate here.)

Charcute-wreath from CuredHSV,  Pastries by L’Etoile  Patisserie HSV, Candle and Cheese knives from South & Pine Home,  and Christmas Tree Mug from Anthropologie.

Annual Ornament Picking

This is a tradition we started with our little family 16 years ago. Each one of us selects an ornament to add to our tree. Needless to say, we have a very eclectic tree filled with memories and treasures from years past.

Stockings, Wreath, & Felt Trees from South & Pine Home, Ornaments from Anthropologie.Aissa bio for blog.jpg

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