Spread love, not COVID: Alternative ways to celebrate the holidays
As the holiday season starts as early as September, stretching out until late January, we can say that Filipinos always had a way of making Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. But while the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic throws the usual holiday plans out of the window, all is not lost for we can come up with more creative ways to celebrate Christmas even within the quarantine.
The holidays are all about getting together but that doesn’t mean it had to be physical. True enough, being held in quarantine for months have us yearning for warm hugs, even more so from the loved ones who only come around once or twice a year to see us. However, hosting intimate get-togethers and traveling to see friends may be out of the picture for this year’s holiday season.
It is as Dr. Richard C. Wender, the chair of Family Medicine and Community Health in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania states “it’s an act of love to keep your friends and families safe”.
In line with this, The HERALDO FILIPINO brings you Santa’s short list of alternative activities you can do to stay safe while celebrating the holidays despite the pandemic:
- Home is where the heart is. Nothing feels like home, literally and figuratively. No matter how near or far our loved ones are, it’s still important to celebrate the holidays where we feel the peace in our hearts. We can’t exactly drop by our relatives’ houses for a reunion, but if you have a stable internet connection, you can set up a video call to enjoy the experience of communal meals with your family and friends.
- Live simbang gabi. Aside from getting together with our loved ones, another reason to celebrate the holidays is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Attending a night mass or simbang gabi is now available through live streams on Youtube and Facebook.
- Be the secret santa. Giving out gifts has always been a big part of the Filipino culture during the holidays, the monito monita being a trademark in Christmas parties. Send presents ahead of time and open them together as a family through a video call, or even better, send something of yours to your loved ones, so they can still feel your presence even if you’re far from them!
- Noche Buena on the go. You can swap recipes ahead of time if you are outspread or even organize a meal exchange if you live close by with your family. That way, you’ll still get a taste of your lola’s signature cookies, your tito’s special fruit salad, and other meals you’ll only get to try on family gatherings.
- Jose Mari Chan on the house. Make a collaborative Spotify playlist filled with your beloved classic Christmas songs that can set up the mood for the holidays (Christmas in our Hearts, A Perfect Christmas, etc.).
- Share the love. Celebrating the holidays is not only about being with your loved ones and exchanging gifts. We can also donate to charitable programs that focused greatly on affected areas by recent tragedies (Typhoon Rolly, Ulysses, etc.) to help them feel the season of giving even when they cannot celebrate it as usual. To make the holidays special, there are still ongoing charities aiming to help those who need it the most such as Caritas Manila’s December 2020 Campaign: Caritas Damayan Feeding and Healing Foodbank.
Whether or not Santa will be coming with presents at this season of the pandemic, may we have a cup of cheer as we connect with our loved ones, just like how the holidays should feel. The world of dread and fear outside our window today is unlike the past holidays. We must all stay safe at our homes and say a little prayer not just for our families, but for the safety of other families as well. Let’s give the world the warmth it needs and spread joy amid the pandemic…