10. The celebration spirit that starts on “ber” months.
In the Philippines, Christmas celebration and preparation starts as early as September.
Yep. You heard that right.
You’ll start hearing Christmas music in public transportation like FX, jeep, and bus. Your favorite coffee shop will play Christmas songs and instrumentals. The mall will be filled with shimmering lights and towering Christmas trees–green, white, pink, violet, or even black.
You start to put Christmas decorations in your house as well. My mother put up decors on the wall in our kitchen and start dusting off christmas lights (that has been there since last year) in the window so we can start lighting it up again for an hour or so. Electricity is quite expensive so we don’t dare to leave the lights open until dawn. I remember how my nephew said “hhhhhuuuuuwwwaaawww!!” the first time we turn the lights on.
I also know a colleague who give us gifts as early as September. It put some pressure to us to give gifts as well. Not anything fancy. Just a simple token will do. Anything that would remind the team of you. Or if you are on a rush, anything that you first see in the department store.
Sale keeps popping from nowhere. It makes you think: if Filipinos are poor then why do they rush in the mall at every “Further Reductions” and flashing red “Sale“?
Expect heavy traffic when there’s a sale specially on Christmas rush. EDSA will start to become a long parking lot. Rain and sale is not a good combination if you’d like to come home smoothly. You’ll usually get stuck in traffic. My usual travel time during this season is three to four hours.
Despite all the hustle and bustle in the city, I still miss those times. The people I get to enjoy it with. The smell of Christmas. The experience. The joy and laughter we’ve shared. That long season of celebration is really what I look for.
How about you? If you are living away from the Philippines, what do you miss during Christmas? 🙂