Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays!

While some of you are experiencing a magical White Christmas, we are enjoying a decidedly tropical one. And although I'm sure I would love to be walking in a winter wonderland, all furry collars and earmuffs, I am quite content with these sunny skies, strappy tops, and a particular pair of bronze-y Brazilian flip-flops that made their way to my Christmas loot.

In keeping with the season (climate-wise), here in my corner of the world, I decided to forgo tradition and nix the pine tree this year. Instead, I bought a fabulous palm at our local market, draped it with these cool weaved-twine-ball lights I found in Bangkok, and decorated it with shells I found on an island in Bicol that we visited last month. It looks like a Christmas tree from some shipwrecked island and I love it. I scattered shells and Christmas balls around the house and used halved coconut husks for candle holders.

Most of my free time saw me stirring a big pot of bubbling Spiced Apple Chutney -- my Christmas gift this year. Though the flat smelled of it for days, it was well worth it to be able to hand over something homemade this year. And the hours it took to peel kilos of apples and coax them into chutney made for a lot of reflection time.

Though this season had its share of tough times, it was also all the more special for it. Moments with family seemed more precious, rituals more meaningful, and old squabbles put aside.

Now to make up for the absence of a white Christmas, we will be off to the beach to celebrate the New Year. I'll be back in January of a shiny new 2008 to open the next round of Hay Hay it's Donna Day! Until then, from my tropical islands to your home, wherever you hail, I hope you are having a memorable and meaningful holiday season full of love and hope!


Katrina said...

I love improvised, personalized Christmas trees, and yours looks so YOU! :-) Years ago, I made a "tree" out of purple twine, cable wire, twist-ties, and my telephone table. It was so cool that I was loath to take it down, so it made it to the next Christmas!

I'm sure it'll be a fun White (Sand) New Year's Eve in Boracay -- nearly all my friends will be there, too, so the island will be hopping! See you when you get back! :-)

Julius said...

Found your blog through the Daring Bakers blogroll (I'm also a member).

Your blog is gorgeous.

Happy Holidays.

Julius from Occasional Baker

lobstersquad said...

likewise, Joey. Feliz Navidad!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That is a fabulous tree! Merry Christmas, enjoy the beach!

Pille said...

Happy holidays!! We didn't have white Christmas either this year, and sadly I cannot even head to the beach indeed:)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I love your tree, it's like a Peter Pan tree and I love the way you presented your Christmas chutney. Happy Holidays Joey! xx

Veron said...

Great Christmas tree , Joey. And Happy Holidays to you too!

SteamyKitchen said...

How wonderful to have a shipwrecked Christmas tree!! Very cool.

Have a wonderful New Years at at beach.

xoxo, jaden

christine said...

Aww your tree looks lovely! So tropical and so festive. I can't believe I didn't get a chance to see you before the year ends. But anyway, I know you'll have a blast in Bora and I'll definitely see you in 2008! :) Happy new year, Jo! Mwah!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katrina! Thank you! I SO know what you mean...I don't want to take mine down either because it always makes me smile when I see it in the morning :) I'm thinking of saving it for a few New Year's parties still...what do you think? ;) The good part though is that even when I eventually take down the decor, I now have a plant to add life to our place :)

Hi Julius! Thank you so much! Your blog is awesome...I am always in awe at your delectable creations :)

Feliz Navidad Ximena! U un prospero año nuevo! :)

Thanks Tanna! I am looking forward to it :)

Hi Pille! Happy Holidays! That's too bad...well, you did have some fantastic looking gingerbread though :)

Happy Holidays Amanda! A Peter Pan tree! Oh, I love that :)

Hi Veron! Thanks :) Hope you are having a ball this season :)

Hi Jaden! Gotta embrace the island life :)

Hi Nens! I know!!! Ack. For sure we will have a little something here next year before I dress this tree down so you can see it (and I can give you your gift!) :) Happy New Year!

creampuff said...


Happy Holidays to you as well! All the best in 2008!

maybahay said...

Beatiful tree, gorgeous gift.
Enjoy the holiday season and all the best for 2008.

Midge said...

Hi, Joey! Now that is an exotic take on the usual Christmas tree. And apple chutney ~ !

Hope you're having a happy Holiday Season!

Katrina said...

I think you should definitely keep the tree up till, at the very least, Three Kings...or, if the parties are still going, Valentine's! ;-)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Nice decorations! I love the atmosphere...

Happy Holidays and cheers,


docchef said...

love your pictures, happy holidays

Toni said...

that is an awesome idea! great work on that tree!!! :)

and those spiced apple chutney presents are so thoughtful.

happy holidays, j!

Suzana said...

Beautiful decorations! Happy Holidays to you too - have a great time at the beach and all the best for 2008!

ChichaJo said...

Happy Holidays Ivonne! :) Here's to a great 2008!

Hi Maybahay! Thanks :) Happy 2008 to you too!

Hi Midge! Let's just say I'm not a traditionalist ;) Have a fantastic new years!

Hi Katrina! It's not coming down until you come over and toast to it! :)

Thanks Rosa! Happy holidays!

Thank you Docchef! Hope you are having a great season :)

Hi Toni! Thank you :) I had fun outting it all together :)

Thanks Suzana! I'm leaving in a couple of hours :) Happy New Years to you too!

zlamushka said...

Hi Joey,

beautiful Christmas decorations. I was back in Slovakia for Christmas and finally got a chance to try the jalapeno raisin pickle me and my dad made in summer. Aaaah, was it wonderful. Sweet and sour and spicy, really great. we decided to pickle a lot more next year. How did yours turn out ?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Zlamushka! Mine turned out great too...spicy and sweet which is a favorite flavor combination for me :) I'll definitely be doing it again...thanks for the recipe! :) said...

Happy Holidays! This was my first year of giving out edible gifts (I made pomegrante jelly, mango chutney, pear jam, and orange marmalade) and I had so much fun. Your gifts sound divine and I loove your tree! :)

katiez said...

Hmmmm, I think a white sand beach would qualify nicely for the 'White Christmas' part.
Happy Holidays!
Love your tree BTW~

Em Dy said...

Another superb idea, Chichajo. The hangings remind me of calamari. Now, I know I'm hungry.

Happy New Year.

Carina said...

Those are very nice Christmas decors and gifts. Very nice indeed. Happy New Year1

Thess said...

Joey, I hope you had a fine Christmas.

Your pictures are gorgeous!

Kind regards from Holland,


Bee Yinn said...

Happy Holidays!

wysgal said...

I really like your Christmas decors! Happy holidays and happy new year Joey! =)

aria said...

so beautiful!i love the pictures of a tropical christmas. of which i have had many but none so pretty :)

Bearbrick Lover: said...

You are very creative – I love the shell ornaments! Happy 2008, Joey!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Clumsycook! Pomegrante jelly, mango chutney, pear jam, and orange marmalade? Let's be friends!!! :) What an awesome sounding spread of gifts!

Thanks Katiez! I had a lovely time and yes, I will definitely count it :)

Hi Em Dy! Heeheehee :) It does look kinda like calamari! It's still up now since I love it it was so easy (and cheap!) to put up :)

Happy New Year to you too Carina! :)

Hi Thess! Hope your New Year's was wonderful over there and that you enjoyed a lot of oliebollen :)

Happy holidays to you too Bee! :)

Thanks Wysgal! Nice to have bumped into you on New Year's...wishing you all the best in the year to come :)

Hi Aria! Thank you :) I hope your holidays were filled with fun and warmth!

Hi BBL! Thank you! I am so flattered...that means a ton coming from someone of your creative talents! :) Hope 2008 is a fantastic year for you!

Jeena said...

Hi there you have such a lovely blog. Great post the photography it briliant lucky you having a tropical xmas. :-) I have a blog also here is my link Food Recipes

Let me know if you would like to exchange links. Thanks Jeena x

Paz said...

Happy New Year! May your dreams continue to come true.


ChichaJo said...

Hi Jeena! Thank you :) I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying this site :) I'll be checking out yours too!

Hi Paz! Happy New Year to you too and all the best in the coming year! :)

santos. said...

i hate that the retail/advertisement holiday season starts so early...and just when i get into the swing of things, it's over.

happy new year to you, have a warm, wonderful, and lovely time of it.

(love your decorations--i'd keep them up for longer than the holiday season, and not just because i'm lazy :) )

ChichaJo said...

Hi Santos! It irks me too how commercialized Christmas has got over soon as the 'ber months start the carols start at the malls...everyone is on "buy-buy-buy!" mode and craziness ensues! Hope your holiday was merry too and thanks for the compliment on the tree...I was quite proud of going native this year :) The decorations are still up by the of these days...siiigh!

Joan said...

happy new year joey!!!

good food.
good photos.
good person.

cheers to you.
hope i can taste those... :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Joan! Thanks so much for such a sweet and thoughtful greeting! :) Happy new year to you as well...may 2008 be full of wonderful surprises for you :)