Christmas is right around the corner. All around the globe, people are already organizing how they’d celebrate this year’s Yuletide season. Of course, as luxurious and eye-catching our neighboring countries’ Christmas celebrations are, nothing can ever beat the cheerful and colorful approach of Pinoys. Since we were young, we’ve always been accustomed to the usual ways of celebrating Christmas Eve, may it be with our family members or our friends. We are willing to bet that the way that you celebrate Christmas today was heavily influenced by the way that your parents and elders celebrated Christmas with you. It isn’t always the same thing with other people, but more often than not, Filipinos have varying, yet, distinctively similar ways to celebrate this “once a year” event.
Admittedly, this year might be different, in terms of how we would approach Christmas. People are still left speechless by the current pandemic, and judging by the way that COVID-19 took the world by storm, it is very understandable. Countless lives were taken by the pandemic, with the loss of jobs and livelihood coming in at close second. We’ve seen news reports of infection count going up each and every day, with the future seemingly dim for the most part. And yet, deep within the soul of people, there is a ray of light that shines the brightest whenever darkness comes knocking. For a world that was somehow unprepared by the sudden offset of an unforgiving virus, we sure are keeping our hopes up, living our lives with our head held up high, with nothing but courage and an ounce of prayer up our sleeves. This is perhaps amplified by the Filipino’s ability to wiggle out of every tight spot, still finding time to celebrate the small things in life, appreciating the (new) normal things that every day still brings.
Perhaps this Yuletide season may not be so different, but still, restrictions are still set in place by the authorities to ensure that the virus would no longer spread at an alarming rate. So, you may ask, “How else could we even celebrate Christmas (and even the New Year’s Eve) this year? Are there any alternatives to the accustomed celebrations done within the past few years?” Well, the short and definite answer would be a resounding “Yes!” Here are a few helpful tips in safely celebrating Christmas during the time of the pandemic.
- No Reunion, No problem.
Social distancing – a certain restriction which was implemented by the government a few months back. It may all seem like a minor setback in paper, but consider this, you would not be able to mingle with people physically until the very duration of the whole pandemic, which unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be giving off any particular date or time. For the most part, social distancing is merely considered the act of staying one meter away from other people, which is true, especially if you happen to be doing your weekly groceries. However, social distancing, when implied towards inviting over house guest would mean a detrimental kind of bonding. In such case, it would be better not to invite anyone at all. This is made more evident by the current restrictions and policies set out by our local LGUs, hence, the chance of inviting over families, friends, or loved ones for a Christmas Eve reunion would be zero to none. Now, this doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be able to see them during the celebration; after all, this is the year 2020, where the only other thing running rampant other than the virus would be technology. We have cellphones, laptops, and computers which would enable us to contact those who matter to us. There are even software or apps which enables us to have video calls with a huge group, thus, no one would be left out. Of course, nothing beats a face-to-face celebration with your loved ones, but for the time being, your safety and well-being should be top priority.
- Morning Mass… Through T.V.
Here in the Philippines, we practice the tradition of the “Simbang Gabi.” Simply put, it is the devotional nine-day series of masses practiced by Filipino Catholics in anticipation of Christmas. Aside from being a tradition, it has somewhat gained a reputation of mystique among loyal church-goers who aim to have their wishes granted, as it was said that once a person completes the whole nine days of mass, his or her wish would be granted by the end. Now, due to the pandemic, certain religious gatherings these past few months were postponed until further notice, and the nine-day mass is no exemption. Fortunately, churches were able to find a workaround, in terms of how the religious activities could take place without the people lining up outside the church. Most religious events this year was broadcast nationwide, opting to bring the mass towards the churchgoers without them ever feeling the need to go out. The same would be implemented with “Simbang Gabi,” according to some recent reports. Not only would this lower the risk of spreading the virus more, it would also ensure that everyone would have a safe and blessed Christmas with a chance to have their wish fulfilled by the end.
- No Groceries, No Crowd, No Worries.
Celebrating Christmas would entail that there would be a delicious feast on the eve. Of course, we Filipinos love our “Noche Buena,” and in preparation for that, we usually have to go outdoors towards our local grocery to gather all the needed ingredients. Under any normal circumstances, this would all seem harmless, however, under the “new normal” circumstances, it is not. In any given day, you can go towards your grocery to restock on your weekly supplies (given that you are wearing a face mask and a face shield), but during the holidays, the isles are more crowded than ever, eliminating any form of social distancing and increasing the risk of the virus spreading. So, what do you do? Well, you can leave off buying the ingredients this year and instead opt for an alternative and more convenient way of acquiring a “Noche Buena” feast. During the whole COVID-19 ordeal, one form of industry seems to be more in-demand than ever, and that is none other than the food delivery business. There are a couple of food delivery clients, nonetheless, they all cater to the same customers, having a huge selection of restaurants, fast food chains, and small stalls in their menu. You no longer need to cook this Christmas Eve, just order through one of these food delivery clients and you’ll be able to acquire a feast for the occasion. You’re also in luck, because restaurants and fast food chains usually offer a “Noche Buena” bundle during the Yuletide season, so make sure to take advantage of that.
So, these are all just some of the safest ways to celebrate your Christmas Eve (and even your New Year’s Eve) with your loved ones. There may be other alternatives out there, but we will leave it up to you to decide which one would work best for you. With all of these in mind, it may be no surprise that you’re looking for ways to further protect your family’s future. The current pandemic has taught us to be vigilant and prepared, and indeed, it is a lesson we will live by all throughout. If you’re still weighing your options, then look no further than Cebuana Lhuillier’s Microinsurance Services. It offers affordable insurance products that enable Filipinos to avail financial services and privileges that higher-income earners have easy access to. Aside from that, it also features innovative microinsurance products and services that promise to minimize the impact of distress and misfortune on one’s financial position. Feel free to visit your nearest Cebuana Lhuillier branch for more information.