The Department of Education recently issued guidelines for the conduct of Christmas parties in its offices and public schools, as Filipinos mark Yuletide with unbound restrictions since the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
This means Christmas celebrations in public schools and DepEd offices “should be simple yet meaningful, keeping in mind the true spirit of the season and the austerity called for by the difficult economic times,” Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said in a Dec. 2 order.
Of course, that does not stop us from celebrating Christmas 2022 as a season of great joy, because this is a time of God showing His great love for us.
The season comes at a time when learners have started trooping back to their classes, and thus, a time of healing and renewed strength.
Christmas, but particularly in this predominantly Christian country of 114 million people where the season is longest during the year, is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child.
God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born, and His birth more than 2,000 years ago brought great joy to the world.
Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event, fully aware this was no ordinary baby.
The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before.
The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.
Back to the DepEd order, Christmas parties must be voluntary and “not result to (sic) expenses that will become a burden on parents, students and DepEd personnel,” adding “No learner or DepEd personnel should be forced to contribute, participate or use their money for the celebration.”
We agree with the caveat that no student should be excluded from joining Christmas parties because they failed to give a contribution or gift.
We find wisdom and substance in the guidelines that all parties, themes, costumes, and exchange gifts will be voluntary for both students and personnel, while DepEd banned solicitations for cash or in-kind contributions for the parties.
It also reminded schools that students or teachers who are not able to provide contributions should not be excluded from Christmas activities.
Christmas decorations are also not required, but those who wish to decorate for the holidays are encouraged to reuse old decor.
School Division Offices may also provide more guidelines according to local traditions, while private schools and other learning centers may also adopt their own regulations with DepEd’s department order as a guide.
DepED also stressed that contributions for celebrations in schools or offices, whether in cash or kind, “should be strictly voluntary.”
Likewise, the department added that “no learner shall be excluded from joining the Christmas celebration by reason of their failure to give the voluntary contribution or absence of a prepared of a prepared gift.”