As I walk the dogs before bed last night I saw a well-lit house on a hill not far from ours; their colorful lights are up just in time for Christmas. Suddenly it came to me, that I’m two months late to decorate.
You see, here in the Philippines we observe Christmas at the start of the ‘ber‘ months. That would be from September and it’s already November and there is not a hint of Christmas in my house yet.
Christmas for many Filipino families is a serious “business”. We are proud to claim that we are a country that celebrates Christmas the longest (lest anyone repute that). Shopping malls start selling Christmas decor and radio stations play the yuletide music. Even the local news and TV shows make a countdown for Christmas. TV commercials and billboards showcase the upcoming holidays through their advertisements. You will start to see the traditional red, green and gold in many posters and print ads anywhere. Oh and everyone becomes kinder.
The climate also signifies that its ‘almost’ Christmas. Though it never snow here (we only dream of a white Christmas). It is cooler and it gets dark earlier. You’d hear many people say, “that’s because it’s almost Christmas”.
People’s emotions dwell to the upcoming yuletide season. They start planning for Christmas parties, reunions, baptismal, weddings and even giving birth. I know a lot of people who start shopping for their Christmas gifts while it’s still ‘cheap’. Prices really go up come December. But in my case, I would start scouring the town and novelty stores for the Christmas items that I decorate our house with. Our house has been a favorite venue for the yuletide occasion since.
Christmas in the Philippines followed by New Year’s Day a week later is a culminating activity for a year that was and a joyous celebration of the year to follow. It’s the moment most of us have long for the year.
Christmas is so important for me that I celebrate with so much gusto. This is how I deck the halls…
On top of the hill where we live amidst the pines and gardens soon our house will light up again. After all, it’s Christmas !