Christmas for the PH by the PH

I love living in the Philippines. No offense, I’m sure your country is awesome too.
We have the best, and I mean THE BEST, Christmas season in the whole world.
DISCLAIMER: I am a girl who refuses to watch the 2015 season of Cats the Musical in London even if I can and even if Nicole Scherzinger is playing the lead. That is because I don’t want to erase the memory of watching Lea Salonga portray Grizella when the musical came to the Philippines. I am a girl who refuses to use those great cosmetic brands from Sephora unless they don’t have a counterpart product at Happy Skin Philippines. I am a girl that has the complete discography of Urbandub, Up Dharma Down, Eraserheads, and Sponge Cola (all local artists) beside the albums of Coldplay, The Script, Queen, and Lady Gaga on my mp3 player. So, like how I expressed in my previous post, I am highly biased to anything Filipino.

This I say to you. I am NOT biased when I say that we have the best Christmas. Officially, the Christmas season here starts in the middle of September until halfway through February the following year. You read it, people. We celebrate Christmas for half a year. Even if it is Valentine’s Day, it is still Christmas! The season starts at the 100-day countdown to Christmas Day and ends when no one is talking about or celebrating Christmas anymore which happens by halfway to the end of February.

Why is Christmas the BEST in the PH

1. We have exclusive Christmas season delicacies
2. We have lights everywhere
3. We have our own version of the Christmas lantern
4. We have an international festival dedicated to that lantern
5. Christmas bazaars everywhere
6. Pop-up Christmas theme locations
7. Parties everywhere
8. Singing and concerts everywhere
9. The cheap becomes cheaper
10. Exclusive (I think) Christian traditions
11. Gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts.

I could make a whole set of blog entries out of the Filipino Christmas season. Hm, I’ll do just that!

Now, you see why I love Christmas more than my own birthday?
As a Filipino, it may be weird but NONE of the items above can define why I love Christmas. Although, it may help but Christmas has a different meaning for me.

When I was a child, I would sit by our Christmas tree at home. Just that. I like how tall it was compared to my height. I like how the decorations were placed on the plastic leafy branches. What I like best were the fairy lights snaking up and around the tree. I would squint my eyes and stare into the lights until they appeared blurred and bursting. Then, I would pretend that they were stars. I would sometimes reach to hold the light and pretend that I was touching an actual star. There were times when I would not squint my eyes but still hold the tiny light bulb between my index finger and thumb. I would fascinate myself with how red my fingertips would look like due to the translucence of my own skin. Then, I would pretend that I had fire powers.

When I was a child, I always get excited when it was already time to decorate the house. It was not like I involved myself in the theme and planning. My mom was part of that. I was already happy with opening the box of decorations or with handing to my Mom the specific flower decoration that she needed to attach to the staircase wreath. If I was lucky, I would be given the task of spreading those thin icicle like confetti around the Christmas tree branches, making sure that it looked evenly distributed.

When I was a child, I was excited whenever we would go to the mall. It was not because we can go Christmas shopping. We were brought up with the mentality of not buying what we wanted. I was excited because we will get to see the Christmas decorations in the mall and the costumed attendants and the Christmas section of the home department of the mall.

When I was a child, I was excited for the yearly clan reunion. It was the only time of the year that I get to see my cousins and aunts and uncles. We would eat homemade catered dinner, play party games, and sing.

When I was a child, I was excited for Christmas Eve (The Filipino equivalent of Christmas morning). At the strike of twelve, the whole family would eat the grand feast that our parents made for us while watching a holiday TV special or a movie. Then, we would go to the Christmas tree and open our presents. Then, we would sleep and when we wake up then we eat the leftover Christmas meal and go out of the house.

When I was a child, I was excited to sit at the window seat of any vehicle. I always kept my eye out for the Christmas lights decorated on the houses and street lamps as we pass by.

A decade later, I am still excited. Christmas is important to me because it was the time of the year that I am forcefully reminded that I am still a child. I am a child that still lets her mind wander. I am a child that still gets fascinated by lights and colors. I am a child that still looks forward to the company of family. I am a child that still loves the simple things.

That is what Christmas is to me. It is the season that amplifies who I am as a person. I still get tingles whenever I read stories and listen to music. I still get amused at accent colors and the latest Christmas themes. Even I can spend Christmas in London or watch the ball drop in Times Square, NY during New Year’s Eve, as long as there is a family waiting for me at home then I will be spending Christmas and New Year at home. I just pray that I would stay the same during the next and the next holiday season.

Do you feel the same about Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you? What are the best parts of your holiday rituals? Tell me all about it.

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