In my family, we celebrate Christmas Eve with cookies, chili, and family. I really miss Christmas Eves surrounded by the Fraley uncles and cousins, laughing and giving gifts and being together.
Here in South Florida, traditions are different. True to our philosophy of experiencing every place we live to the fullest, we've temporarily suspended our own holiday traditions to adopt those of our surroundings. The last two years, we've celebrated a South American Christmas at our friends, the Inzas, This year, we were invited to a Cuban Noche Buena at my dear friends, Ily Gagnes.
Ily is a very dear friend of mine, and her daughter, Brianna, is Kaitlyns best friend. Unfortunately, Kaitlyn was spending Christmas in California with her dad, and couldn't go with us to the Gagnes...and we really missed her. But we had a good time, anyway!!!
Noche Buena doesn't begin until 8 or 9 pm (at the earliest). For Noche Buena (which means "Christmas Eve"), you roast a pig. This was our porky dinner...we debated all evening as to whether or not he was of the straw or stick variety (assuming all brick piggies were safe at home enjoying hot cocoa and waiting for Santa). Other traditional food is white rice, black beans, sweet Cuban tamales (SO GOOD!!), soft Cuban bread, and yucca w/ garlic. I used to hate yucca (we called it YUCK-A)...but Ilys' was fabulous, and I actually went back for seconds...garlic breath be damned!! It was SO DELICIOUS...both Jason and I pigged out (literally!!!).
Ily's oldest son Brandon was home from university for Christmas, which made Ily VERY happy. I love chatting with Brandon, so it made my day, too.
I look as chubby as I felt in this pic...but I love Ily so much that I don't care!!!
This is Ily and Kaitlyns best friend, Brianna! Merry Christmas!!!
When we got home (at an early hour for Miami...it was only 11pm!!), we discovered that the Christmas Eve Elf had been to our house, and dropped off the first presents of the holiday!! The kids got to un-wrappin' right quick!!!