Among all Christmases celebrated worldwide, the Filipino Christmas is one worth recognizing. From it being prepared for as early as the first –ber month (September) to it being celebrated with a crazy array of local customs and traditions, being Filipino or at least being in the Philippines during the holiday season is something definitely spectacular!
We know that your table is probably laden with Filipino family favorites, such as the quezo de bola, hamon, lechon or maybe the ever-famous carolers’ manok na tinola! But why not show your Pinoy pride by decorating your home with definitely Filipino Christmas decorations?
It is fairly easy, you see. Let’s start with your color theme. Go with soft browns paired with bold reds and blues, and bright greens and yellows. It is also very important to consider the materials you will be using when decorating: bamboo, glass, cellophane and crepe paper are some of the usual ones. Using decorations made of wood and dried leaves is also something to be considered as these give anything a homey, local feel.
Let’s start with hanging the parol, the local Christmas star, near your gate, stoop or door. While you have the option to purchase the store-bought ones, it is recommended that you transform it into a family project and create one yourselves! Embellished with Christmas lights, your parol will definitely shine brightest on your street.
Since the modern Philippines is indeed a mix of different cultures, be playful by dressing Philippine icons in something quite Western: the Santa hat. Instead of a reindeer, get a kalabaw (carabao). Instead of the Christmas angel, consider Fernando Amorsolo’s depiction of the archangel Michael. Instead of Christmas boots or stockings, go crazy with tsinelas (slippers)!
Lastly, ditch the Christmas tree and put up a belen instead – a display as traditional in the country as the Roman Catholic religion itself. Make sure that there is also enough space for gifts at a certain part of the display. (Not comfortable with the characters usually used in the belen? Put up the stable and the star and put the gifts “inside” the stable instead.)
There are a lot of different ways to celebrate Christmas, but one can definitely go wrong with decors used that are very close to home. Merry Christmas!