Merry Christmas! Just kidding. It’s not really Christmas yet, but if you were raised in a Filipino household, you know that almost the whole Philippines is already getting into a Christmas-y mood as early as the ber months.
From Christmas decorations to early gift shopping, it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. So sit back, put on the Jose Mari Chan, as we countdown things Filipinos do in the ber months.
Bring out the Christmas decorations
While we’ll probably never get a white Christmas, we still feel the Christmas spirit with all the decorations everywhere.
During the ber months, most families are already bringing out Christmas decorations like trees, ornaments, and lights from their houses’ storage. You might also notice some streets already have lines of elaborate displays.
The Christmas tree stands out as the most identifiable Christmas decoration. There are plenty of kinds of trees out there in all shapes, colors, and sizes, both natural and artificial.
If you’re living in a condo, apartment, or other forms of shared housing, opt for a smaller tree. You can also get miniatures for your desk so you can keep up the Christmas spirit even while you’re working.
Finally, there are also people who already put up Christmas lights. Be care ful with Christmas lights though. Besides causing electric bills to skyrocket, they can potentially cause fires if they have faulty wiring. Make sure you only buy from certified suppliers.
Buy Christmas Gifts
Christmas is known as the time for giving and Filipinos embody this to a fault. We get gifts for almost every person in our lives. From the inaanak to the officemate.You’ve probably already made a list of people for Christmas gifts.
As Christmas nears, people are probably looking for things to get their Secret Santa or Monito-Monita. Because of this, droves of people march to the malls or to Divisoria to look for gifts for people in their lives
Alternatively, buy gifts on OLX instead of braving the crowds later in the year.
As a general rule, think of what the person who you’re giving the gift to might like. The sooner you start thinking about it, the better your chances of finding a gift they’d like.
Check out our 12 Days of OLX-Mas series from last year for some ideas.
Plan the Noche Buena
One of the defining features of the Filipino holidays is the number of parties, the biggest being the Noche Buena feast. After all, it’s arguably the most-anticipated time of the year. That’s why it’s important to plan how you want this feast to go.
The standards of a Noche Buena involves seasonal favorites like lechon, hamon, and quezo de bola. No Noche Buena feast would be complete as well without the ever-present pork barbecue and spaghetti.
Alternatively, you can try to incorporate new things to spice up your parties. Try preparing something uncommon like a charcuterie (a tasting platter of prepared meats) and cheese plates. Maybe you can play around with different kinds of roast meat.
Don’t forget to serve good wine during the meals and liqueur for cocktails. Of course, keep non-alcoholic beverages available for people who don’t drink.
Prepare Family Activities
After all the feasting, if everybody isn’t too sleepy yet, you can liven things up. Why not belt out your favorite songs on videoke? (This could be your chance to sing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and not get in trouble). You can have the older ones in your family try video games. Or you can take it old school with some card games or board games. Maybe the older ones can even teach you some mahjong?
To most Filipinos, this is probably the most important part of Christmas. Almost every Filipino wishes for the entire family to be together for Christmas.
Whether it’s the Noche Buena at home on Christmas Eve or a trip abroad, it’s being together that matters.
The ber months are a great time to get ready for the busy holiday season. After all, when December rolls around, it would be better spent in exciting anticipation for Christmas itself rather than in stressful cramming for all the festivities.
What do you think? Do you think the ber months are a good time to spend preparing for the holidays? How do you plan to celebrate Christmas a few months from now? Let us know in the comments!