Nothing beats the Christmas celebration in the Philippines.
Without exaggeration when the calendar hits “……ber”, every stores and shopping malls would start displaying Christmas decors. Kids will be talking about Christmas parties and gifts. Lanterns and Christmas lights will be all over the place. Mothers will start planning for the “noche buena”. There is not a single corner in the Philippines which will not remind you of the festivity, not a single one. Everywhere, even in the remotest, poorest areas, there will always be something, it may be little and simple, to celebrate Christmas.
My family have been overseas for almost 8 years now, we are missing all these. Here in Thailand, is a different story. As a Buddhist country,they do not celebrate Christmas. December 25 is an ordinary day, hence a working day. It is good enough if your employer understands Christmas, and declares this day a special holiday for the Christians, but only for a day. If they don’t, then you will be working on Christmas day. Stores sell Christmas decors by December, though. They associate these with New Year.
Noche buena? I do not know if we are going to have one. The neighbors will be all fast asleep by then. We don’t want to wake them up. We could probably just have a bit of a special dinner. Well, not really the kind of special we would have back home, just the more-than-the-usual kind of thing. They don’t sell all-purpose cream or whip cream here, and the cheese is insanely expensive. These are two very important ingredients for my-kind-of-special-Christmas food, hmmmmm… fruit salad and spaghetti. Anyway….
This Christmas just like the past seven Christmases, we put up our Christmas tree and decorated it. The only difference though, is that the kids are bigger and they already are able to express their appreciation. So when we decided to put up the Christmas tree the other day, they were all yeheeeyss!!!! Summer and Derick helped. They even got more excited when we turned on the Christmas lights. Despite of the “absence” of Christmas, we still keep this tradition alive just to give the kids a feel of the Christmas spirit.
This is Christmas for us. This is Christmas away from home.
We wish everyone a happy Christmas and a bountiful 2014.
For the victims of Yolanda, our prayers are with you.
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