My family, composed of my Mom and me, followed the Filipino Christmas traditions of hearing mass on Christmas Eve and waiting to kiss the image of the Baby Jesus after the mass, Noche Buena with catanas and queso de bola of course, Christmas trees with trimmings and blinking lights, and gift giving. Even if there was just the two of us, my mother would keep our family tradition. Sad to say, a bad marriage made me discontinue all of these. I lost interest in celebrating anything.
But my life has changed for the better. I now have a precious daughter and a loving, responsible partner. I find myself looking forward to the holidays. But how to celebrate? My partner does not celebrate Christmas as we Filipinos do. Of course he does celebrate the birth of Jesus but he does not believe celebrating it on December 25. I keep explaining that it is a symbolic date. He says it’s not right. I don’t argue because I converted to his religion and know how conservative it is. So, this year, the first time I’m giving gifts and celebrating the birth of our Savior, I am finding a middle ground between the traditions I grew up with and the extreme conservatism of my partner’s side. Most important of all is to make our daughter understand that Christmas is not about gifts and lights and decorations but about the birth of Jesus. She’s too young to grasp it but by celebrating simply and emphasizing gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice, I hope she eventually understands.
What are your family traditions for Christmas?