My Christmas Memories in the Philippines

by squidooprincess2012

Christmas is a time best shared with the family. I live alone now, so I'm creating this page to re-live my happy childhood memories of the Yuletide season.

Christmas is around the corner, and that only means one thing: People are all-smiles, happy, and excited to celebrate the season with their loved ones.

As I look back in my childhood, I know that me and my family spent the Yuletide season the way we wanted it -- happy, fun, and truly memorable. Here's a page of my childhood memories. I hope you, too, can re-live your memories. And I hope they're also happy and memorable.

Why I Love Christmas

Christmas? It's love everywhere!

I don’t know about you, but Christmas is always something that I look forward to every year. Yup, even if I’m already 30 years old. It’s easy to think of reasons why I love the Yuletide season, and one of them is that when I was young, my parents showered me with gifts. And even in school, we did exchanged some gifts with our classmates and teachers.

But aside from presents, I enjoy hanging out with family and friends. In the Philippines, we gather during this time for “family reunions.” That means our family and relatives would come home from other parts of the globe to share the holidays with us. It’s always a happy sight everytime your family members are complete.

And then there’s the events. People who don’t normally go to church would wake up early for early masses called “misa de gallo.” The masses start on the 16th of December and ends on the 24th. They say that if you complete these masses, make a wish and it will definitely be granted to you.

And the food is overwhelming! Folks who don’t cook that much on ordinary days would pile up on their Christmas groceries and cook the festivities away! I love, love, love those dishes!

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My First Christmas Memory

Stockings and Santa Claus

My earliest recollection of Christmas was in my 2nd grade. My aunt was pregnant with her first child at the time, and no kid was with them at the time to celebrate Christmas with.

One night, my uncle urged me to pin some stockings on our old sewing machine and let them hang there for the night. He said Santa Claus will put something in those socks, and I’ll find them in the morning. I didn’t realize there was Santa Claus in the Philippines, but I did what they asked me to do anyway. I must have pinned three of my old socks. I remember saying to myself, “but the stockings on TV are big.” But again, I pinned them anyway.

In the morning, I woke up, checked the socks, and my uncle was right! Santa indeed came that night. I had some coins and some candies. My uncle urged me to do the same thing, so I did, and the same thing happened the next morning.

From then on, I looked forward to pinning stockings every year.

Did you believe in Santa Claus? I did! Santa is real, you guys!
Did you believe in Santa Claus? I did! Santa is real, you guys!

Our First Christmas Tree

Err...Out of Soap?

In the Philippines, we don’t have “live” Christmas trees. So what we do is to buy these plastic-made trees from the department store. But my family didn’t think it was necessary to buy one every Christmas. It was better if we improvise and made one.

So that’s what we did. We made our Christmas trees from soap bubbles.

Soap bubbles, you say? Yup. White soap. All we had to do is to rub white soap with salt to produce this foamy substance that will stay that way until we wash it off after the holidays. Try it. You’ll have a cheap “White Christmas” theme. Plus, it’s fun if you do it together with your family.

My First Simbang Gabi

It’s hard to wake up early...

I hate early masses, but the idea of “simbang gabi” or “misa de gallo” has always intrigued me. I always want to wake up early so I can attend these masses, but my laziness and sleepiness always got the best of me.

Oh, in case you don’t know, “simbang gabi” or “misa de gallo” are a series of masses every Christmas season, which happens around 4 or 4:30 in the morning. It’s really a challenge to go to these masses because first and foremost, it’s cold you want to cuddle in bed.

Anyway, I’ve had my first simbang gabi when I was in high school with my mother. It was, of course, just an ordinary mass. But the difference is that the church is usually jampacked with people who would want to experience the “thrill” of simbang gabi.

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts!

I love receiving presents!

Of course, when you're young, you want to receive toys and your favorite things during Christmas. So I always asked my parents and grandparents impossible things. Naturally, they would "negotiate," but that's okay. They normally settle for the second best, and that's completely fine with me. 

My favorite Christmas gift would have to be a watch given by my aunt. It was a special gift because to me, it felt like I became mature with the watch. To me, if you had an item worn by mature men and women, you'll feel differently. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but that's how I felt when I received the watch. 

What about you? What's the most precious/memorable gift you've ever received?

Updated: 02/16/2013, squidooprincess2012
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What about you? What are your childhood memories of Christmas?


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