My niece, together with her 3-year old son Miguel, put up their Christmas tree a few days ago. I followed their activity on the videos and photos sent through Messenger.
Two years ago, his dad led Miguel by the hand to the living room after he woke up from his afternoon nap. Miguel stopped and gazed at the tree for the very first time. It was love at first sight. His eyes opened wide, his mouth formed a perfect O, and his chubby right arm came up to point at the tree. He was still unsteady on his feet at the time but that didn’t stop him from toddling towards the tree to get closer. In the days that followed, he grabbed the baubles, their shine too tempting to be left alone. There was collateral damage but everyone was happy with the tree’s success.
This time he was quiet and serious as he very carefully hung the balls on the branches that he could reach. It took him and his mom a couple of hours so it wasn’t surprising that after the important task, he was hungry. He sat on the sofa and nibbled on his much-deserved treat (siomai) as he gazed with satisfaction and pride at the tree with the twinkling lights and the sparkling Christmas ornaments.
After eating his snack, he grabbed his little chair and sat very close to the tree, HIS tree (never mind Mommy’s major contribution), grinning at the colors and lights, his little hands touching here and there, making sure that every decor was where it should be.
Then, he demanded that other family members come and take a look at his tree. He was so excited, and kept repeating, “Excited Miguel, so happy. Love it Miguel. Asa gifts, Mommy?”
Later that evening, his mom turned on some Christmas music. He stood up and danced around the tree. That has been the ritual every night before bed since the tree has been up.
Heartwarming Christmas Classics for 2020
This is a strange time when most of us cannot come together with friends and family. What are we Pinoys to do when we cannot gather with our tribe to celebrate such a special season? Try to be pragmatic about not meeting up with them during the holidays, I guess. Hold the family around us even closer. Thank God for the many blessings that 2020 has brought us. Including technology! Being virtually together has its joys too.
Christmas is a special time, pandemic or not. We can celebrate its meaning and still follow tradition. It may be with a few tweaks for the health safety of everyone. Let’s use the famous Pinoy resourcefulness and creativity to make great memories this Yuletide.
The Classic Red and Green
Nostalgia for the good, old days is a reason to want to surround ourselves with these colors. These classic Christmas hues of red and green are said to have originated from the Roman times.
Arielle Eckstut, co-author of Secret Language of Color, said, “Holly has played a huge part in this red and green association. And it dates back to winter solstice celebrations with the Romans, and maybe beyond. … And also, holly is associated with the crown of thorns of Jesus. And just those beautiful bright red berries and those deep green leaves are the exact colors that we really come to think about when we think about Christmas.” (NPR, December 20, 2016).
Whatever the reason for the Christmas red and green colors, these bring such a festive spirit during the holiday season. Red and green are complementary colors with one bringing the other into sharp contrast. Together, they draw the viewer’s eye.
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If you have plants at home, you can hang some red ornaments on them. This you can do if you don’t have a Christmas tree hiding in storage somewhere.
If you do, you can make it easier on yourself this year by not taking it out. Unless you are like Miguel and his mom who really want to continue a tradition. Especially if you have young children, it may also be a good thing to have cheerful Christmas decorations around the house to blow away the shadows of the past year. But if you think it’s added stress, then find an easier way to bring the Christmas feeling into the home.
Whatever you decide, try not to stress and make everything perfect. Just remember this base line: As long as all the family members are present, either physically or virtually, it’s perfect already. Everything else is extra.
Natural Colors of Green and Brown
Wood, leafy green, white, beige, or the muted colors of nature—these are trending colors. We have many posts about the trend of biophilic design, the desire to have nature incorporated in the home, cottagecore, rural escapism, and sustainability. The desire for nature is brought about by the change of lifestyle since the lockdown in March when we were told to stay at home. Restrictions have eased over the past months. Today, many go out to work, but many more are working from home. Even our children are doing online learning.
So it is not surprising therefore to want to have natural elements in the home. Green is the color of hope, health, freshness and prosperity. Brown, on the other hand, symbolizes strength, security, resilience, dependability and safety. If surrounding ourselves with colors of nature will bring us a peaceful heart, then why not, right?
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The number of online businesses has skyrocketed over the last months. For many, it is a way to earn money or augment a decrease in income brought about by the loss of a job, a furlough, or a pay cut.
‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ is being proven again and again. The human spirit transcends and awakens our creativity so we can survive.
Some family members and friends have gone this route, and I am so proud of them. For me, it has become a kind of a mission to buy local, especially from mom and pop shops, farmers, bakers, and cooks. Start-ups need support. So do big businesses actually but the need of start-ups is more urgent, in my opinion.
This Christmas we may also want to create gifts for our loved ones instead of buying them. Handmade gifts are precious since time, effort, and creativity go into the making of these presents. It doesn’t even have to be an object. It could also be something intangible, like offering your expertise to someone who needs a discussion partner and coaching, or giving pet-sitting services to a friend who needs to spend more time at work, or virtually tutoring a child when the parents have business projects to finish, or provide simple IT services to senior relatives who don’t want to fiddle with gadgets for fear of breaking them. Just put yourself into another loved one’s shoes and I am sure you will be able to come up with a service that would be very much appreciated.
Celebrate Love and Life
I’m going to miss Miguel and the whole family this Christmas. I’ve cancelled many trips since March, and up to today I am still waiting for some travel vouchers. I actually thought that I was ok because I’m a practical person, who is hardly susceptible to sentiment.
Then a friend sent me this.
The next thing I knew, tears were pouring down my face. Because of a beer commercial. And then I thought, oh ok, time for a good cry then, not only for myself but for so many people who are having a much more difficult time than me, and for this change in our way of life.
But being the optimist, I always think that we are still here, alive and well or maybe even not-so-well, but present nevertheless. That’s a feat right there, and also a gift. May bukas pa. Let’s be grateful for this time and celebrate this Christmas with love in our hearts. Let’s celebrate life.
Kung sa beer commercial pa, ituloy natin ang Pasko.