Gear Up for Holidays
By: Eka Navallasca
The holiday season is fast approaching. Us Filipinos kick-start the Yuletide season in early September through December to what we called "Ber" months. We can already feel the Christmas breeze as everybody gets ready for the season. Celebrating the holidays during this pandemic may be quite different from the previous years.
This season is one of the biggest holidays and most awaited by every one of us, as we gathered all together for "Noche Buena" at around midnight for Christmas Eve and "Media Noche" on New Years's Eve.
After more than a year of abiding through the pandemic, today - life is slowly returning to what it was before the crisis. As we adjust to the new normal, here are some tips on how we can keep our holiday season merry and bright despite celebrating with preventive measures to ensure safety.
1. Opt for Gatherings Outdoors
This season is known for celebrating with family and friends gathering together. Despite the modified guidelines today, it is still essential that you and your family are safe as you celebrate the holiday season. Hold an event outdoors for extra ventilation to limit virus exposure. Especially when you have a spacious patio, it is a better alternative. Host a few attendees to avoid a large crowd, provide numbers of attendees and have your other family members gather up through video call.
2. Setting a Budget
Spending during the holidays could be overwhelming, from buying Christmas gifts, food, decorations, and other expenses. It is best to plan a budget ahead of time, figure out how much you have to spend. Set aside your savings from the money that you want to spend on holidays. It is okay to splurge as long as you know how much you can afford. Keep an eye on your budget to make sure you're staying within the limit.
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3. Make Early Reservations
Making early bookings makes it easier to prepare for the upcoming holidays, could be travel, restaurant, or even your pamper reservations. With everyone getting pumped up for the festivity, this is to avoid the crowd while saving your time from waiting in long lines to steer clear from the disappointment of "Fully Booked."
4. Plan a Treat for Someone else
As we developed different holiday traditions, Christmas is the time of giving and sharing. It is not just limited to our loved ones or the people we know but also to others, as not everyone is fortunate as everybody else. Offering a little something to alleviate what they are going through during these times is a huge help. Give them simple treats to make their holiday even more special. Even small acts of kindness could make someone's day brighter.
5. Door Drop your Gift's Early
Gift-giving is one of the cultural staples of the holiday season. This year's exchanging of gifts is quite different from what we are traditioned to do. As most of us do Christmas shopping online, it is still best to transport early to beat the crowd. Despite the easing of restrictions, it is still safer to do contactless gift-giving, delivering the goodies on the front porch or book to dispatch it door-door to your loved ones to minimize the risk of you and others.
6. Scheme your Dish Ahead of Time
Besides other activities for the holidays, one of the most awaited parts of the celebration is the feast. Every family has their traditional comestible at the table for everyone to share. Like, kakanin, bibingka, Filipino-style spaghetti, puto bumbong, shanghai rolls, Leche flan, lumpiang ubod, fruit salad, and buko pandan for dessert, and most especially the Filipino version of Christmas turkey, Lechon a whole pig roasted over charcoal. To avoid rush cooking during the holiday's it is best to plan a list of what you and your family's favorite dish is to prepare.
7. Create Christmas Playlist
As early as September - you can already hear Christmas music playing everywhere. Create a Christmas collection of your all-time favorite holiday jam, may it be upbeat music for when you party at night or chill Christmassy vibes to play every morning together with your cup of coffee. Set the holiday mood and get pumped up for warm holiday feelings. Start listening to our very own Mr. Jose Mari Chan - king of Christmas carols who composed popular holiday songs.
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8. Try Something New
Despite the new normal that the pandemic has brought us, some of our traditional activities are getting postponed due to some community restrictions, giving a little spice to this year's celebration by creating new traditions for you and your family. It could be making an advent calendar, being creative by designing your ornaments to put on your Christmas tree during holidays, creating fun activities, or experimenting on new desserts and food to add up to your serving table.
9. Cherish your Alone Time
During the festive season, everyone experiences the holidays differently. As you spend time together with your families, do not forget to give yourself time as well, self-care could be one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday. Treating yourself doesn't necessarily mean grand, but treat yourself with something that makes you happy.
There is nothing like the feel of the holiday season, where everyone gets excited. But as we celebrate the true essence of Christmas, the birth of our savior, it is also time to celebrate his greatest gifts to humankind and be thankful.
The way we are celebrating Christmas again this year may not be the traditional celebration that we are accustomed to - as the holiday season approaches with lesser restrictions, it is still best to ensure safety. As the Scottish poet Alexander Smith once said, "Christmas is the day that holds all time together." As the holiday season comes, let us take the time to disconnect from everyday stress and hectic schedules and take time to reconnect with life.
Here you have tips on how to keep your holiday merry and bright, start making plans with your family, and wish you a wonderful holiday!