Christmas in a Filipino Home

Christmas is again just around the corner! To be honest, being a parent these past few Christmases makes me feel more excited as this special day comes. I’m excited to celebrate it with our kids and as they become more aware of all the things around them, we are happy to teach them the true meaning of Christmas and what it means. Right now our daughter understands that it is the birthday of Jesus and we’re preparing for this special celebration. I’m happy how cheerful she sings the Christmas songs we play almost everyday now. She can actually sing the whole Jingle Bells song now.

Almost all Filipinos love the Christmas season. Probably because it’s a very festive, cheerful, colourful, and bright season when it comes to our surroundings and mostly people are in their jolly, giving mood. It could probably be because there are Christmas bonuses, Christmas gift shopping is so exciting and fun, more days off from work, more time with family, or probably because of family reunions and friends meet-ups. Whatever the reason is it’s a fact that almost every Filipino home reflects the season of Christmas. We love to share and let our kids experience the same things we experience when we were kids.

Here’s what you’ll usually find in a Filipino home during Christmas season. :

Christmas Lantern a.k.a. Parol – It’s a big star to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem where Jesus was born. It comes in various styles, sizes, and designs. Some are plain and some have lights and other decors around.

Nativity tableu a.k.a Christmas Belen – Displayed in the home where everyone can see it when they enter the home. It serves as a decor and at the same time a way to commemorate what Christmas really is. It’s a way for Filipinos to recreate  The Nativity (birth of Jesus) through the figurines of Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus (sometimes, even animals and the 3 kings are included)

Christmas tree – Did you ever think why we have Christmas trees during the holiday season? Some says that the green colour symbolizes life and rebirth. Some say that it symbolizes the paradise tree from the creation story (a fir tree with apples). In 2004, Pope John Paul said that the Christmas tree is the symbol of Christ.

Christmas wreath – It symbolizes the season of Advent. The circular shape means eternity or the everlasting life of Christ. Traditional wreaths have candles to symbolize the weeks before advent. It’s like our countdown in weeks before Christmas. It comes if different shapes, sizes, and look.

Christmas lights – They give a brighter surroundings for this glorious season. They come in various colors and they usually come with different setting – blinking slow or fast, steady or not. It adds a more cheerful mood to the decors and to the surroundings. Be consistent and makeup your mind on your colour theme. I’ve seen trees mixing all kids of light and as a result, the Christmas tree looked like it had no theme and becomes an eyesore instead of an attraction.

Santa Clause – One or more Santa figures will not be absent in the home especially when you have children. It can come in the form of a decor, a printed design on the linens, or a nice elegant breakable figurine. Those life-sized Santa Clause and those hanging on the walls or dancing toys can even be present in some homes. Santa Clause adds colour to Christmas and keep children motivated to be nice or shall we say good? We all want to be in the nice list. I just don’t like to think about how I’ll explain Santa Clause to our children when they reach that age of awareness (if you guys know what I mean). St Nicholas (also known as Santa Clause is Jesus’s friend as I always tell our children and he lives in the North Pole preparing gifts that he will give this Christmas. I see the happiness in our little girl’s eyes now and hope for a nice gift.

Christmas motif linens – Pretty sure that the pillowcases, bedsheets, hand towels, placemats, table runners, and table cloths with Christmas prints are ready to be washed and used for your home. It is the how Filipinos want to keep the spirit of Christmas very much alive in all things they do and use.

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Christmas songs – Christmas playlists should be ready by now. Some love to play background music in their homes to keep a certain ambiance in place. You can’t miss adding Jose Mari Chan’s, Mariah Carey’s, Justin Bieber’s, Michael Buble’s, and Bing Croby’s Christmas hits.

Christmas food – You’ll find bibingka and puto bumbong (whether home-cooked or bought from a shop or stall), hot chocolate tables, chocolate cookies and cupcakes, and other Filipino dishes during Christmas season and especially during Christmas eve and Christmas Day.

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Reunions – During  Christmas season in the Philippines, homes are filled with reunions of all sorts- from friends, workmates, and family. Home of for many are venues of the most memorable reunions one can have.

Christmas gifts – Under every tree in every Filipino home there are gifts which are usually opened on Christmas eve. There are quite a few who open gifts when they wake up on Christmas Day just like how people from other countries do it.

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Christmas carollers – In non-gated villages, carollers of all ages knock and sing  Christmas carols outside the gates or doorsteps of each home. After each performance, it’s a practice to give a token (usually cash) for a good performance and in the spirit of sharing and giving.

Christmas, my child, is love in action. – Dale Evans

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