As you know, we Cubans celebrate Noche Buena on December the 24th.
In my family, December the 25th, or Christmas Day is the day we each celebrate with our individual families.
Usually, my oldest sister, Ofelia will take Luza (my 96 year old mom) with her to enjoy Christmas morning with her grandkids (my mom's great-grands).
Besides the traditional family celebrations, there's also the many and varied Christmas parties to attend.
In spite of all this madness, we also manage to add another small and informal party to our busy schedules. In attendance are just the girls. My sisters and their daughters and me and my daughters spend an evening noshing on cookies and creme de vie. The reason? It's the night we exchange gifts with my mom.
I know you're asking, "But, Marta, isn't your Noche Buena celebration just a week later? And won't you all be there?" The answers are yes and yes.
The reason we started The Luza Gift night is because we (sisters) usually chip in to get my mom some great gifts. And she usually gets a little something for each of us. But when the Noche-Buena-Crazy begins, there's no telling who got or who gave what to whom.
In the past, we've tried. Or I should say, I tried. I would try to make it an orderly "You give your gifts and then you and so on...."
But my family is Cuban. And noisy. An unruly. And impatient. And they tend to be command-resistant, too.
So, the more civilized Luza Gift night was established. My mom can open her gifts from us and enjoy her goodies and thank us properly. And we can do the same.
Her argument for doing the early exchange is that she wants to see our faces and she wants to make sure she knows who gave her the gift and that she can show the proper appreciation.
Secretly, I think she is just like a little kid and can't wait. ;-)