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Family Christmas Traditions

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My family, composed of my Mom and me, followed the Filipino Christmas traditions of hearing mass on Christmas Eve and waiting to kiss the image of the Baby Jesus after the mass, Noche Buena with catanas and queso de bola of course, Christmas trees with trimmings and blinking lights, and gift giving. Even if there was just the two of us, my mother would keep our family tradition. Sad to say, a bad marriage made me lose interest in these Christmas activities. I lost interest in celebrating anything.

Pero may bagong buhay na ako. I now have a precious daughter and a loving, responsible partner. I find myself looking forward to the holidays. But how to celebrate? My partner does not celebrate Christmas as we Filipinos do. Of course he does celebrate the birth of Jesus but he does not believe celebrating it on December 25. I keep explaining that it is a symbolic date. He says it's not right. I don't argue because I converted to his religion and know how conservative it is.

So, this year, the first time I'm giving gifts and celebrating the birth of our Savior, I am finding a middle ground between the traditions I grew up with and the extreme conservatism of my partner's side. Most important of all is to make our daughter understand that Christmas is not about gifts and lights and decorations but about the birth of Jesus. She's too young to grasp it but by celebrating simply and emphasizing gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice, I hope she eventually understands.

What are your family traditions for Christmas?


Spanish Pinay December 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM  

It's nice to have family tradition like this. we do have a slightly different one when I was still in the Philippines but now that I am here in Spain with my own family, we have just started to make our own tradition... it's nice, warm and nostalgic at the same time. Traditions may change but what's more important is not to do the same tradition all throughout but the very reasons of forming these traditions - to unite families and have something to look forward to :)

Merry Christmas!

Spanish Pinay

Daddy Allan December 19, 2012 at 7:04 PM  

Before We don't celebrate Christmas due to religion. We just visit our grandma's house and spend our time there. But now, things had changed. Since I got married (oh, when Mommy and I are in a relationship) we start celebrating Christmas. When we had our own house, I am very excited to buy decors and placed it at house. hehehe. That was the first time I arranged our own Christmas tree

Aileen December 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM  

To be honest, I've lost interest in all the frills and fancy things for Christmas. I just like to focus on the real meaning of all the celebrations, remembering the One who came to save us. I have had that mindset even before I changed faith, so it wasn't a big transition when I finally did. I feel I am more in touch with Him when I forget these trivial I can actually do away with the gifts, parties, decors and still feel joyful. As it is said, all things shall pass...but the essence of Christmas will stand true always.

Mys December 20, 2012 at 5:06 AM  

We do a simple nochebuena at midnight. Open a few gifts but save some for the Christmas day lunch with family and friends here at home. It's great that you and your partner are both willing to compromise.

Dominique Goh December 20, 2012 at 7:16 AM  

we don't have any traditions for Christmas but do make it a point to spend Christmas together as a family.

tet December 20, 2012 at 9:34 AM  

here i Pampanga, evey Christmas day, children will make 'mano' to elders and they will give the children some money. regardless if you're relatives or not. haha..

Pinay Ricamora December 20, 2012 at 4:26 PM  

Differences in traditions and beliefs may be trying, but it is good for you to balance this out!

Pinay Ricamora December 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM  

As of now, your kid will just be happy to celebrate the frills and brightness of Christmas!

aby December 20, 2012 at 7:28 PM  

me? i lost excitement celebrating christmas when i grew up.. wala na nagpipigay ng cash sakin pag xmas. malaki na daw ako. :( hihihi

Maan December 20, 2012 at 11:59 PM  

As a Christian, I don't believe in December 25 as Jesus' birthdate, too, but it feels good to devote a season to remember his birth. Our family traditions? The usual Pinoy ones, like noche buena and gift giving. I try to give more this year. :-)

Jellybelly,  December 21, 2012 at 5:00 AM  

wow that's a good place to visit during the holidays hehehe

Jellybelly,  December 21, 2012 at 3:23 PM  

That is what converting to my partner's faith did for me. It brought back the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate it by sharing and giving more. It's very conservative and not until I actually converted did I realize how hungry I was to get back to a simple life that focused on Him and not on worldly material things that so easily draw people.

Jellybelly,  December 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM  

We don't have a tree but I gave in to the little one and brought home the small twig tree I had at the office. I kept it there because it was a gift from a co worker years back and I don't decorate on Christmas.

Jellybelly,  December 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM  

What are the traditions in Spain? I always thought most of our Filipino Christmas traditions came from the Spanish.

Riza,  December 21, 2012 at 5:13 PM  

You know, come to think of it. I still haven't formed a family tradition for our Christmas (me and my children). We do celebrate it with gift giving and food but aside from that, we just stay home. I do not really find enjoyment at the idea that I'd flock a place with a whole bunch or throngs of people and then have a hard time, even a bad one getting a ride home. lol

Jellybelly,  December 21, 2012 at 7:06 PM  

One of the reasons I stopped giving gifts because I always found myself rushing at Christmas eve for gifts :)

Lady Anne December 21, 2012 at 10:37 PM  

I remember how I look forward to Christmas Eve when I was little, the day when I can finally open my gifts. Then a mass on Christmas Morning, followed by a family lunch at my Grandparents' home. That's our Holiday tradition that I truly miss, I have been celebrating Christmas and NYE away from home for 4 years now!

Tondogirl December 21, 2012 at 10:55 PM  

I feel for you. Here in Dubai, only Christians like us celebrate Christmas and it is so hard on my part because I have work during christmas day.

anyway, i used to not mind Christmas at all when I was still in the Philippines, but now all I want to do is go home and celebrate it with my family back home.

Mom Michelle December 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM  

Even as a devout Catholic, we still celebrate Christmas in a simple way. We never forget the fact that this special day is about the birth of Jesus Christ.

Jellybelly,  December 22, 2012 at 2:19 AM  

four years is a long time. maybe you can come home next year and experience what christmas is like again in the philippines.

Jellybelly,  December 22, 2012 at 2:20 AM  

it's a tough time to be away from family because we family always comes together at christmas in our country.

Jellybelly,  December 22, 2012 at 2:21 AM  

yes, it's so easy to get caught of with the preparations and forget what it's all about.

Sanna December 22, 2012 at 8:23 AM  

I so agree tet. Ganun nga sa pampnga:) i miss it!

Sanna December 22, 2012 at 8:25 AM  

The most important thing for us during the holidays is togetherness. Yung spirit and atmosphere of llove among people, I guess that is what Christmas is for, whatever your faith is.

January December 22, 2012 at 11:43 PM  

We usually have simple noche buena too on Christmas Eve. :)

Olga December 23, 2012 at 4:43 AM  

Gift giving and Noche Buena are still the traditions we keep and are passing on to our little ones. We're inspired by other moms who have started new traditions and am thinking of something we could start new Christmas. Perhaps, our own Jesse tree or something similar. :) A blessed Christmas to you and the twerp!

Marie December 23, 2012 at 6:04 AM  

We used to go to San Fernando, La Union (my mom's hometown) every Christmas break and when I was younger, I actually thought every one of my classmates had another hometown to go to. Although my mom has passed away, we still go there for a few hours every Christmas day. We drive for about an hour and a half from Baguio, have our Christmas lunch there, visit the memorial park then go back to Baguio after. Sometimes we go to the beach resorts to escape the cold here inBaguio

Meikah YbaƱez-Delid December 23, 2012 at 6:56 AM  

Our traditions are gift-giving, Simbang Gabi, Media Noche mass, stay up late and till early morning feasting and drinking wine! =))

Jellybelly,  December 23, 2012 at 4:04 PM  

My Mom and I used to visit relatives in the province too since it was just the two of us.

Jellybelly,  December 23, 2012 at 4:05 PM  

I haven't thought of a tradition to start for my family yet. Hopefully next Christmas I'll come up with one :)

Chan December 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM  

It has been argued and found that Christ really isn't born on December, but we Christians celebrate it on Dec 25 still, just to keep the tradition and spirit alive :)

Rosemarie/Gven-Rose December 25, 2012 at 4:13 PM  

we were not complete this year for my Mom is at the hospital.. Merry Christmas

Jellybelly,  December 25, 2012 at 8:09 PM  

Merry Christmas Rose! I hope you Mom gets well soon.

Vera December 27, 2012 at 4:45 AM  

It's really very interesting how you're going to marry the very differing views about Christmas.

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