Category Archives: christmas

Christmas Ornaments

Being away from my home country for the past decade, we try to keep holiday traditions intact by decorating and setting up a real Christmas tree. I can’t wait to be back home for Christmas again, but until that time our celebrations will have to make up for the festivities we’ve missed. 
Merry Christmas to one and all!

 A parol is a traditional Filipino Christmas lantern.

Wooden star from Budapest.

Wire star from Vaci Utca market, Budapest.

Glass piggy from Prague.

Swarovski star.

Ernie chasing after Bert.

Bokeh it up!

Capiz (mother of pearl) parol ornaments from the Philippines.

Christmas Ham

I’ve made a Christmas ham since my teenage years in the Philippines and continued the tradition when I moved to New York, developing my recipe to use locally available ingredients. This ham is popular among Filipinos but is a general crowd pleaser as well. It’s always festive and very easy and inexpensive to make. Total cost for this is around $20.


Whole smoked pork butt, sized according to one’s stockpot capacity
1 big can pineapple juice
1 small 1-pound box Domino’s dark brown sugar
1 big can pineapple slices
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup dried cloves
10 or so pieces Maraschino cherries
Green garnish leaves such as parsley, brocollini, etc.


Remove plastic packaging from ham and place in a stockpot. Set aside one cup of brown sugar. Into the pot add pineapple juice, the rest of the brown sugar, and cloves. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Cool and refrigerate pot with soaking ham for 1-2 days. On day of occasion, simmer pot for 1-2 hours on low heat and then set on glass baking dish. Create a mixture of crushed pineapple and brown sugar moistened with the soaking sauce and coat ham. Sprinkle more brown sugar and cloves on top and bake uncovered for 1 hour at 375F. Remove promptly and arrange in round decorative dish with pineapples, cherries, and garnish leaves (as in photo).

Sauce: Reduce soaking sauce in stock pot on medium heat until 1/2 original amount. Add sugar to taste or to thicken. Slice ham thinly and serve topped with warm sauce.


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