It’s time to recreate these traditions
Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, the world’s been caught in an endless loop of lockdowns. The days when people could travel and gather freely now seem like a distant memory, and it’s a reality we have to live with, unfortunately.
Now that the ber months—from September all the way through December—are here, we’re reminded of the freedom we had before all the lockdowns. Ber months essentially mean that it’s time for Filipinos to celebrate Christmas, but the way we celebrate has changed since 2020.
Let’s go on a trip down memory lane with some pre-Christmas traditions we had pre-pandemic, and see how we can keep the Christmas spirit alive despite having to stay home.
1. Christmas Shopping
Finding the perfect gifts for family, friends and even workmates requires some bit of planning, so it’s no surprise that Filipinos start their Christmas shopping as soon as the first Jose Mari Chan song hits radio waves. Malls are flocked by a mix of people looking for gifts and those who want to take advantage of holiday sales for themselves.
However, the familiar long cashier lines and cramped aisles may still be left out this year. Establishments continue to run on limited capacity and implement strict health and safety protocols.
Thankfully, there’s online shopping! In-store shopping may give you instant gratification, but you can’t deny the convenience of shopping using a smartphone. Plus, many of the products available at malls are also online, whether in shopping apps, e-commerce sites or social media platforms.
The joy of caroling in the Philippines lies in the fact that it need not be perfect. In fact, the funnier it is, the better! Impromptu lyrics, out-of-tune adlibs and wacky choreography add to the overall festiveness of Christmas.
Sadly, caroling from house to house is impossible, with the pandemic still restricting contact with other people. But who said you couldn’t experience the same kind of joy at home?
If you aren’t the shy type, record yourself giving the best performance of your lifetime. Go on TikTok to start a new dance craze or go live on Facebook or Instagram to entertain your friends. You can also film a video and send it to family, wishing them a Merry Christmas from your home to theirs.
Whichever type of performance you choose, don’t forget to give it your all and channel your inner Mariah Carey!
3. Simbang Gabi
Simbang Gabi or Misa de Galo is a tradition for many Filipino Catholics. Beyond being a religious practice of attending early morning or evening masses for all nine days before Christmas, it’s also an opportunity to gather and create a greater sense of community. People revel in the sight of decorated churches and enjoy local Christmas goods being sold outside like bibingka and puto bumbong.
Currently, religious gatherings are still either prohibited or limited. Fortunately, several churches, such as the Manila Cathedral, hold online masses, so you don’t have to miss out on important religious occasions.
4. Christmas Parties
Filipinos love Christmas parties. Friends and family, good food, fun games and activities—what’s not to love? Schedules are booked as early as September to accommodate company parties, barkada hangouts, family reunions and other festivities.
Since large gatherings are ill-advised during the pandemic, you’re going to have to organize or attend virtual Christmas parties at the moment. It may sound less exciting, but you can do several fun activities online! Trivia nights, charades, browser games, kris kringles and other activities can be done virtually. You can also binge-watch some holiday-themed movies with your loved ones.
Most importantly, any virtual event requires a strong internet connection! Globe At Home offers reliable Fiber plans that will ensure your party remains uninterrupted.
5. Holiday Vacations
Since the Christmas season means no work and no school, many people schedule their dream vacations during this period. Unfortunately, the tourism industry hit a snag when the pandemic emerged. Travel restrictions will remain until COVID-19 is controlled.
While you wait for that moment, the best way to forget about ruined vacation plans is to take a staycation right at home. Why not bring your vacay destination to you? For instance, if your dream destination is Japan, watch a show based in Japan, play Japanese music and order Japanese food (and maybe partner it with some sake).
Make your staycation a relaxing experience as well. Recreate a spa by lighting up some scented candles and playing soothing music in the bath. Practice mindfulness meditation to help clear your mind and bring your awareness back to the present. This will give you a much-needed break from everything happening around you—including stressors caused by the pandemic.
Accept Change with Grace
Christmas is only one among the many other Philippine holidays we’ve yet to celebrate. As we move further into the year, we’re bound to discover more things that have changed because of the pandemic. Change, after all, is constant, so for the time being, enjoy the ber months as they come! Keep the Christmas spirit alive by seizing the moment and making the most of what you have today.
Holidays are best enjoyed when celebrated with others. This Christmas season, stay connected with family and friends with a strong internet connection made possible by Globe At Home.