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Tips on how to celebrate Christmas safe and in style

Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is scrambling to get the preparations for the festivities out of the way. But in our current situation due to the health risk caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the month-long celebrations that we observe with our family, friends, and loved ones may have to be put on hold. 

People wearing a face masks gather on the Via del Corso main street for their Christmas shopping in downtown Rome, during the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. AFP
Yet, this doesn’t mean that we have to give up the festivities that we know and love. Much like our adjustment to new normal conditions for our day to day lives, Christmas may also need to have a few tweaks so we can safely enjoy the holidays and look forward to more in the future.

To make the holidays as safe and to keep things as festive as possible, some things we can do this holiday season is to take the celebration online, share some traditional yet enjoyable and easy to make dishes, and get into the season of gift giving by giving our loved ones some treats that they would surely enjoy.

Never go wrong with a traditional Pinoy favorite

One of the highlights of a traditional Filipino Christmas is the Noche Buena or the meal we have during midnight of December 25 to welcome Christmas day. In this dinner, different kinds of meals are usually doled out so that every member of the family has something that they can enjoy. 

But since things aren’t as what they used to be before, practicality has to be considered among other factors when it comes to preparing the Noche Buena. One traditional and go-to Filipino food that’s suitable for all occasions is the lumpiang shanghai or fried spring rolls. 

A ballet dancer poses in a giant plastic bubble as she entertains Christmas shoppers in Melbourne. AFP
Using only a few ingredients such as ground meat, a few vegetables, and lumpia wrapper, one can make a delicious meal that many can enjoy. Plus, lumpiang shanghai can either be eaten with rice or as is. 

Another Pinoy favorite that’s commonly found on tables during Christmas is spaghetti. Depending on the flavor preference of its consumers, spaghetti can be served with a sweet sauce that many Filipinos know and love or with a twist that’s known as a secret recipe to particular families. 

Garnishes and additional ingredients aren’t also limited to meat and cheese. People can experiment with other ingredients that match the flavor of their spaghetti sauce. 

For dessert, a classic mango float made with crackers, cream, and mangoes, will surely put a sweet conclusion to any celebration. 

Ultimately, having meals that people can share is the goal of the Noche Buena as it fosters strong family ties and celebrating important events and holidays together. Plus, cooking food that’s suitable for a number of people is easier on the pockets. 

Stay connected even if it’s only through online

During the year, schools and offices have taken advantage of going online as it held classes, meetings, seminars, and whatnot over the internet. The same can be done for relatives this Christmas. 

A hat embellished with Christmas decor adds cheer the wearer’s holiday season.
When the holidays come around, roads, airports, terminals, and ports experience an influx of travellers, who want to either go home or celebrate Christmas in a venue with their loved ones. But with the ongoing health risk, there have been some restrictions when it comes to travelling and a quarantine has to be observed by the traveller going to and from their initial destination. 

To stay connected with our loved ones who are some miles away from us, we can take a page from the online classes and meetings by conducting a video conference call online where we can see and talk to others. 

In doing so, not only can we make the connection last longer than a regular phone call or text message, it will be more personal since we can really see them through our computer or phone screens. 

And as we wait for the clock to strike midnight on December 24, we can hold conversations with the members of our family, friends, and loved ones just to make them feel that despite the distance, we are still around to show much we love and care for them like we always did. 

Go online with gift giving 

No Christmas is complete without gifts. Whether big or small, as long as it’s from the heart, we appreciate gifts since it’s one way of telling someone that they are special to us. 

Yet this Christmas, it may not be wise to brave shopping malls and districts to find the perfect gift. So again, we can take to the internet to get this job done since there are many e-commerce platforms, both local and international, where we can look for and buy the perfect gift from. 

Choristers sing during a photo call as the St Paul’s Cathedral Choristers prepare for their first livestreamed Christmas concert at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on numbers of visitors to the Cathedral St Paul’s is livestreamning their Christmas concerts for the first time. AFP
It helps that these platforms also have sales or promos that make their items affordable so they can encourage more buyers to turn their attention to them rather than carry out the task of buying gifts physically. 

With only a few clicks and a short time of browsing, we can specifically or serendipitously find the perfect gift for our recipients, thus reducing the amount of time that we usually spend shopping in malls and other locations. 

Another advantage of online shopping is that when we have already bought the item, we have it delivered to our homes or directly to the recipient, given that we know their personal details and their exact location. 

This lessens the possibility of us going outside to deliver the gifts ourselves or having over guests in our homes--all for safety purposes, of course. 

So despite the pandemic, the spirit of Christmas should never be put on hold as it is one of the most awaited holidays in countries all around the world, especially the Philippines where we prepare for it months before it actually happens. 

By adapting to new normal conditions until things go back to the way they were before, we can secure our safety this holiday season and the days to come. Besides, nothing beats the gift of being healthy and complete during the holidays.

Topics: Christmas , Party , Gifts , Holiday , Noche Buena , COVID-19
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