Metro Manila and six other areas remain under GCQ (General Community Quarantine) until December 31, 2020. These six areas are Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan, Davao City. The rest of the country will be in modified GCQ.
What does this mean for the Christmas-loving Pinoy?
My siblings and I, together with our respective families, had a Thanksgiving Zoom get-together last weekend. We are all in the Philippines except my brother and his family who reside in the US. Among the things we discussed were our quarantine situations and how citizens are responding to it. Despite the alarming infection and death statistics in the US, people seem to not be scared about going out. Compare that to our rather “obedient” reception to our longest-running quarantine. My brother observed that in the US, people need to go out for their sanity. A lot are getting depressed, some thinking of committing suicide due to loss of job and human interaction. He asked how those who lost their jobs here in the Philippines are coping and wondered how the citizens are okay with the long quarantine. Well, I guess it’s because we know that we have to take care of ourselves, that our healthcare is not enough. And looking at it from the bright side, since very few Filipinos live alone, there may be less chances of getting too lonely and depressed due to lack of physical human interaction.
We have already accepted that Christmas will not be same this year.
I asked the question, “What Christmas expenses will you dodge this year?” Thank you to those who gave their answers. Here are some of them. (Tweet this)
- Gifts. Since I will not be attending many Christmas parties, no need to buy that many gifts. In fact, even within my family, my husband and kids know that they won’t be receiving that many gifts, I’m thinking of paring it down or maybe not giving at all.
- Noche Buena. Instead of the multiple over the top dishes, we will prepare a simple one with maybe two viands. No more fancy drinks and way too many desserts.
- Travel. We will not be traveling during the holidays which used to be our tradition.
- New Christmas Clothes. I used to buy new clothes for the different Christmas parties I would attend. For this year, I may not even buy a single one.
- Corporate Giveaways. This year we are not giving our usual corporate giveaways to clients and colleagues.
- Christmas Groceries For Employees. We are doing away with this tradition this year, as our cashflows are also very tight due to lost revenues.
- Salon Expenses. This is the season when my girl-friends and I would visit our favorite spas and salons to prettify ourselves for the season – haircut, color, make-up, mani-pedi, or have that massage after a tiring shopping.
- Shorter Gift List. Our Christmas gift list used to rival that of Santa’s, for this year, I haven’t even gone through it yet. Maybe I will just have a very short list this year.
- Aguinaldo For School/Office Admin and Staff. I used to have cash in envelopes and other Christmas goodies that I just give away to the staff and maintenance people of my children’s schools and our office building. This will not be present this year.
- Tone Down Christmas Decors. This year we will not be using our many Christmas lanterns and lights that used to make our house one of the brightest on our street. We will not only be saving on electricity, but I feel that it will be ostentatious and insensitive to not keep with the times if we still do over-the-top Christmas decors.
Many of those who gave their answers are using their Christmas expense savings to help victims of typhoon and the pandemic in general. (Tweet this)
Honestly, I haven’t also checked my Christmas list and it’s already December. I will not skip Christmas because I think it’s something that we all really need right now. The good news is, maybe this pandemic brings with it a blessing in disguise. Our situation right now forces us to really think about the true essence of Christmas. When we take out the frills and the many stressful activities that we have invented during the season, we remember that we must focus on Christ this Christmas. (Tweet this).
I’d like to end this article by sharing how we did our Christmas tree last weekend. Here’s a side story. The boys used to help me decorate the Christmas tree. As they grew up and became busy, it was just me and our helpers. Later on, I just directed the helpers to put it up in a certain way by showing the old photos, then I would check and do some tweaking, if needed. This year, we decided to do it ourselves, and to make it really simple – just the tree with lights and poinsettias below.
Whether you’re dodging your usual expenses this Christmas or not, I hope you will carve out that needed time to really reflect on the true meaning of Christmas with your family.
- I will give an FQ Talk for Zonta Philippines on Wednesday (December 2, 2020). There will be young students in the audience which makes me very hopeful. This event is happening through the kindness of Insular Life.
- I will also give a talk at Home Credit Philippines’ webinar entitled “Building Financial Resilience.”
- I will also be a resource speaker at the Cha-Ching… Christmas-themed Financial Literacy webinar on Saturday (December 5). During this webinar, parents, together with their kids, will learn how to achieve a money-smart and meaningful holiday season.
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