Christmas is all about tradition. We celebrate Jesus’ birthday and the acts of kindness performed by a fourth century Greek saint (who has since been transformed into a crimson-clad, magical sleigh-riding Coke ad), Santa Claus. It is fitting that your family also come up with its own traditions to follow this Christmas and for future Christmases to follow. Here are ten suggestions to make your Christmas more memorable and meaningful this year.
1. Plant a tree. Bringing life into a place where little exists is a fitting task for Christmas. For some of us, it’s as easy as literally going back to our roots, such as our provincial homes. For others, it might be better to hook up with a local reforestation non-profit organization like Haribon or TREES Philippines so you and the family can plant something where it does the most good. It’s also so you can learn how to do it properly, as tree planting isn’t all that simple and you should know how it’s correctly done to ensure the sapling’s health. Then next year, you can come visit and find out how it’s doing and plant something else nearby.
2. Visit an orphanage. Christmas is all about family and there’s nothing like being able to share that to those who don’t have any. I have a neighbor who does this every Christmas – without fail, she, her husband and her two boys are off on Christmas Day giving gifts to a private orphanage that her relatives run.
You don’t need to run an orphanage yourself – you can make arrangements with advocacies like Precious Heritage Children’s Home or Haven of Hope to visit with your family. Planning this beforehand is important - sure, dropping by unannounced may sound like a grand gesture, but can actually be impractical and possibly disappointing if they happen to be preoccupied with another activity on that day.
3. Exchange gifts made with your own hands. Little kids can always make crayon-scrawled cartolina greeting cards for their parents, but why not go the next level? There is something to be said about being able to give a gift you can proudly say you made yourself. If you wish, all of you can come up with a little gift to be given that was made with your own hands, especially if dad has carpentry skills or mom can stitch and sew. Of course, don’t forgo little Julie’s request for a Dora backpack or Arvin’s wish for a Ninjago kit – the do-it-yourself presents are to be Christmas add-ons. Consult with the family carefully for this one – not everyone has the skills or time to do this.