Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of Christmas decors around the house. My parents are pracical people and they taught us to value the real meaning of Christmas than to dwell on the material and commercial aspects of the season (No Santa’s for us!). We also didn’t celebrate Noche Buena. On Christmas morning, we would go to our lola’s house to celebrate with the clan. We exchange gifts, feast on a glorious lunch (valenciana, lumpiang shanghai and halayang ube were the staples), but the highlight of the fay is really enjoying time with our family. We play games, share stories, and just hang out with each other. Now that I am all grown up, my hubby Ariel and I started our own traditions. We kept the old family customs but we spiced it up a bit by creating a festive atmosphere through colorful Christmas ornaments, twinkling lights and a Noche Buena feast. Since Noche Buena is still a few weeks away, we are content to enjoy the season relaxing at home surrounded by physical symbols of Christmas. While these are material things, they remind me of God’s unwavering love and His desire for us to live a full life. So every time I look at them, I say a prayer of thanks for all the blessings, material or otherwise, that He so generously showered upon us.

Written by Alby Laran

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