|© Universal Pictures|
Christmas in the Philippines is definitely unique and known to be the longest in the world. However, Filipinos has also started to pick up some bad habits, especially when it comes to Christmas.
The Pinoy Christmas is very nice and meaningful in itself but there are some minor observations that accompanies it.
Here are the ten Filipino Christmas habits that are not really a Grinch but maybe needing attention:
1. Recycling Gifts. Or passing along a gift that you got, one that perhaps you didn't need or like and re-wrapping it and giving it as a gift to someone else. Personal gifts came with good meaning and the one who gave it to you might find you rude if he/she finds out. There are acceptable circumstances of course like those random gifts your receive during exchange gifts on Christmas parties but we must always consider etiquette when re-gifting.
2. Shooing away the street carolers. Caroling is a part of the Filipino Christmas tradition. As early as November, carolers are already on their feet singing Christmas carols from house to house spreading the spirit of the season through Christmas songs, and sometimes they could be very persistent and annoying.
3. Telling other children there is no Santa. This is not the season for debates so it is considered rude to tell your neighbor’s children that there is no Santa Claus - that the presents under their trees were put out by their parents, and not St. Nick. Let them discover that Santa is just a symbol of love, kindness and generosity when they grow up – but of course it is always up to the parents whether they want their own children to believe in Santa Claus or not.
4. Unlimited Videoke at full blast. Let’s all admit it – Filipinos are videoke junkies. Mobile videoke machines for rent are easy to find and during the holidays it is not surprising to find loud videoke sessions on every street. We are happy people but the sad part is the whole neighborhood have to excruciatingly listen to usually tone deaf amateurs singing songs they shouldn't be singing.
Videoke at full volume all through the night until the wee hours of the morning without any regard for the neighbors should be considered a crime, but in the Philippines, the one who is complaining is considered rude or “walang pakikisama”
5. Hiding from your inaanak. Giving gifts to our inaanak (godchildren) is part of the Filipino tradition and Christmas is the special time of the year when they visit their Ninong and Ninang. This is also the special time of the year when most Ninongs and Ninangs go into hiding especially if they don’t have prepared gifts for their inaanak. Abducted by the Grinch!
6. Extravagant Belen. The Spaniards brought us the Belen, literally meaning ‘Bethlehem’, the traditional nativity scene depicting the birth of Christ, and Filipinos usually display it proudly at home, offices, building and at the streets for visitors to admire. However, they overdo the display most of the time – making it too extravagant, fancy and expensive.
Belen depicts the birth of Jesus Christ in a humble manger in Bethlehem. Thus, simplicity suits a nativity more than extravagance since it depicts Jesus being born in a stable
7. Shameless gift solicitation. Companies usually send out Christmas solicitation letters to their suppliers and business partners for items to be raffled off during their Christmas party. It is expected that businesses and suppliers making profit should give raffle items to their client but it is not a must.
Based on my personal experience, I received calls from other companies lightly demanding raffle items on the premise that our company received extra customer service and profit from them. Caller say, “Asan na po yung gift para sa party namin, ang laki naman ng kinita nyo samin this year di ba?” which is totally against protocol and courtesy.
8. Epal banner greetings from politicians. It’s nice to know that our public officials remember us during Christmas and New Year through their banner greetings printed on large tarpaulins hanging on public areas such as schools, lampposts, buildings, etc.
However, such banner greetings are often used by politicians for personal advertisement in the guise of “service or concern“ for the people. The banner greetings normally highlight the politicians winning face together with their whole family, and usually they overdo it. It’s one of the reasons for the “Anti-epal Bill”
9. Spending so much money for fireworks. This is classic. Most Pinoys spend large budget during the holidays for firecrackers and fireworks then lights them up showing no regard for safety despite thousands of fireworks-related injuries every year.
10. Leaving Christmas trash behind. There is always that tons of trash produced during the holidays. Given the blast of activities, such as shopping and cooking, which eat up huge amounts of resources and yield volumes of discards, Yuletide season is the time of the year when we generate more trash.
These tons of garbage calls for proper disposal habits, segregation and recycling but most people just leave them behind which I think the worst crime against Christmas.
Don’t get carried away
Now that we are only few days away from “the Big Day”, what are your plans? Let’s all keep in mind that sumptuous Noche Buena, fireworks, money and gifts are not the essence of Christmas and these are all meaningless if we do not remember or are not around the people we love and who love us most.
Christmas in the Philippines is truly unique and is made even more festive because of the joy we feel in our hearts. However, don’t let this euphoric moments carry us away into committing these crimes against Christmas.
Have you committed one of these already? I would love to know your thoughts, please hit that comment button!
Maligayang Pasko po!
Image Credit: The Grinch. © Universal Pictures Image Source: Jim Carry Online