Is the spirit of Christmas still in our hearts?
The tragedy that had struck the Philippines robbed us of our hope. Doors remained closed, streets remained quiet, and people remained cut-off from each other. The sufferings and trials the country had faced throughout the year 2020 caused only half of the Filipino adults to expect a happy Christmas last year. Families were unable to come back to the province and celebrate and be with their loved ones, people struggled to make a living, and anxiety creeped into society. People were dispassionate during the most anticipated time of the year, as heartwarming traditions were prohibited due to the pandemic.
This year, however, may be different. With COVID-19 cases going down and more people getting vaccinated, President Duterte announced that Filipinos may look forward to a happier Christmas for the year 2021, as major cities are achieving their vaccination targets. Duterte continues to encourage citizens to be jabbed with the COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of their brand, to move towards a brighter future. The Department of Health also expects better times to come as cases continue to decline. DOH will continue to observe the situation to determine whether Christmas parties will be allowed this year and will continue to impose safety regulations throughout the holidays. Joey Concepcion, the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, looks forward to this year’s Christmas as the economy begins to open once again. Concepcion sees this as an opportunity for the Filipinos to rise up and recover from the recent hardship that the country has gone through.
Large establishments also carry the spirit of Christmas by displaying extravagant Christmas lights and decorations. The Manila Hotel brings us a wondrous holiday season as it lights up their extravagant Christmas tree, carrying on their festive traditions. The Manila Hotel also makes celebrating this year’s Christmas season more special with their ‘Heart of Gold’ fundraiser by reaching out and giving an opportunity for those in need to celebrate Christmas. Ayala Land and Make It Makati have also brought joy to the hearts of many as they launched the Festival of Lights virtually on November 12, which was highly anticipated by the people. Everyone is also invited to celebrate this heartwarming season and join the highly anticipated concert hosted by Ayala Land and Make It Makati on December 25, starring Jose Mari Chan and the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
Amidst the promises of a happier Christmas, do Filipinos really expect a joyous season, or have people lost the spirit of Christmas as the second year in the pandemic comes to an end? A survey conducted for the purpose of this article revealed that 74.5 percent out of 55 Filipino adults expect a better Christmas this year as compared to 2020. Respondents said that lower COVID-19 cases, good health, and vaccination were the main factors for a brighter perspective. Many respondents are also looking forward to taking a vacation this coming Christmas season, while others are planning to stay at home due to the ongoing pandemic.
This merry time of the year continues to uplift spirits, as the country slowly recovers. The spirit of Christmas is rekindled and the tradition of giving continues to be carried on. Let us happily celebrate this Christmas as the country heads to a brighter future, and hope is restored.
Antonio, R. (2021). 'Better Christmas’ seen this year as major cities hit vax targets—Duterte. Retrieved from https://mb.com.ph/2021/10/12/better-christmas-seen-this-year-as-major-cities-hit-vax-targets- duterte/
CNN Philippines Staff. (2021). DOH: Too early to tell if Christmas parties will be allowed this year. Retrieved from https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2021/10/16/DOH-on-holding-Christmas-parties- 2021.html
Department of Health. (2021). More mobility by Christmas if COVID downtrend continues. Retrieved from https://doh.gov.ph/node/33258
Gonzales, C. (2020). SWS: Record-low 50% of adult Filipinos expect happy Christmas. Retrieved from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1375543/sws-record-low-50-of-adult-filipinos-expect-happy- christmas
Legaspi, J. (2021). A magical Christmas comes to The Manila Hotel as it lights up its holiday tree. Retrieved from https://mb.com.ph/2021/11/05/a-magical-christmas-comes-to-the-manila-hotel-as-it-lights-up- its-holiday-tree/
Rappler. (2021). Ayala Land, Make It Makati launch Festival of Lights Virtual Edition 2021. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/bulletin-board/ayala-land-make-it-makati-launch-festival-of-lights-virtual-edition-2021
Valente, S. C. Low Covid cases ticket to merry Christmas. Retrieved from https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/11/05/news/national/low-covid-cases-ticket-to-merry- christmas/1821054