It’s Christmas season and Filipinos from all around the world can feel the spirit of Christmas. Well, partly, Christmas in the Philippines is still different, especially when you are used to celebrating it with the whole clan. The countdown signals the significant celebration. Traditionally, we start the countdown when August ends and September begins. Families start to decorate their Christmas trees. We put up Christmas lights and decorations inside and outside of our houses. This is also the time we start asking, “What do you want for Christmas?” Because who does not find that difficult? It’s better to be straightforward and know what to give so they don’t get disappointed!
Everyone gets excited for the handaan with mouthwatering dishes and luscious desserts. Children are thrilled to unwrap the presents they asked for because they were not “naughty.” The Christmas decorations along the streets, the children singing at the top of their lungs in exchange for a few coins, the Christmas carols played at every corner of the town, the pictures of Santa Claus, snowmen and reindeers inside the malls, the Holy Belens found inside the churches, and everything that reminds us of Christmas is always present. Though, don’t forget the real purpose of Christmas! We commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ every 25th of December!
Abroad, you can’t be too fired up because we have different practices compared to other races or nationalities. A number of people even have to make an appearance at their office during the holidays! It would be pricey to purchase a plane ticket for each family member to fly to where ever you are and that’s not practical. You can come home, yet many Filipinos regard that as costly too since their inaanaks, other relatives and families are expecting something from them. You really can’t just win, can you?
Just because Overseas Filipino Workers are away from their families does not mean they are not allowed to chill out and have fun. Based on what I’ve observed the past years ever since we migrated in the Middle East, this is how Filipinos prepare for Christmas Day and celebrate it abroad. We gather to feel less lonely. We let go of all the worries and stress!
7 Ways Filipinos Abroad Celebrate Christmas Their Own Special Way
7. Setting the Date
When should the Christmas party be? Typically, we try to plan the event on a weekend to have a hassle-free party! It may be on December 24, 25, or 26. It all comes down to the majority of votes since most Filipinos want to start Christmas day by inviting their families to video call with them! Through that, they can still be with family on the special day. Virtually, at least.
6. Inviting Guests
Who are the guests? Should we invite a local or should it be a party strictly for Filipinos? Should we divide it in groups? Should we only have a minimum of thirty guests or more? Will the people enjoy more if we don’t invite many individuals? Will others get offended if we don’t ask them to come over? These are just some questions that we ask ourselves whenever we organize a gathering. Somehow, we seem to consider the feelings of others all the time. It’s Christmas. It’s not healthy to harbor negative feelings towards anyone.