December 25 is Christmas day in the Philippines, as it is in countries that celebrate His birth. By this date, employees will have their pockets a wee bit full – Christmas bonus + 13th month pay + salary. If you’re a typical Pinoy, there’s no way you’ll keep that all by yourself. 🙂 Here’s why:

(1) Presents! You will need to buy a present for mom, dad, sister, brother, special someone… the list goes as long as your specific budget for gifts allow. But there’s another list of persons that you would need to handle with delicate care: your godchildren a.k.a. “inaanak” (in Filipino) or “kinugos” (in Cebuano-Visayan).

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Each year, dodong or inday will get a year older. Your kinugos will grow taller or more robust than the last time he or she visited you to mano, greet you, and then shyly, ask for that present. This is why I say it’s delicate because if you didn’t do any basic research or simply call your inaanak’s parents to ask what he or she likes these days, you might end up with a crying toddler or a displeased expression that will haunt you for several months whenever you think of your godchild (halaka!).

(2) Party!! There’s that company party, team party, clan party, barkada party, and a lot more depending on the number of cliques to which you belong. Each party promises fun, prizes, and feasts. Naturally, you need to “invest” a bit. For themed parties, you might check out malls, ukay-ukayan or do online shopping. Of course, you’d be looking at your closet first before shelling out (hurrah to savings! 🙂 ). For exchanging gifts, you would need a gift that costs, at the very least, a minimum amount. Some parties are free, like for company parties, but the rest will require you to contribute or give your “amot.”

(3) Feast!!! Christmas day makes every Filipino table colorful. It summons every family’s home specialty and Noche buena favorites, from caldereta to lechon, from the Christmas ham to sweet rice cakes or “kakanin.” Nowadays, you could simply choose to cook some dishes and also buy already-cooked food for a more stress-free preparation. Yet, either way, you’re gonna be spending. 🙂

Worth adding here is one of the most awesome things about home specialties: the sharing and, sometimes, food-exchange between families, neighbors, and friends! Yum, yum 🙂

(4) New Year!!!! Just when you thought your budget can’t take the stretch anymore, the New Year looms close! After six days of respite, it’s January 1. The first day of the year is just too special that you got to…

… it’s really up to you. It’s your wallet, your budget. The feasts you’ve been indulging for the past days and the not-so-healthy bulge in your tummy will help you decide how much food you want for the Media Noche. It sounds cliche and I keep hearing this via TV, but it’s true: what matters most is that during the holidays you’re with the people who matter to you most. 😀

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