When one thinks of Christmas, one thinks of family. For truly, the Savior’s birthday is that time of year when love most abounds in everyone’s hearts.
In the Philippines, Christmas traditions comprise of family reunions, Misa de Gallo, Noche Buena, and gift-giving. And while these have undergone some updates through the years, they continue to be the ties that bind families together during this beloved season.
Today, The Sunday Times Magazine shines the spotlight on modern families, each with their unique traditions, but always with the family as the centrepiece of their celebrations. Find out how the Alunan family, style siblings Daryl and Andre Chang, fashion photographer BJ Pascual, and Eric and Bea Soriano-Dee, who were featured for SM Store’s 2016 Christmas campaign, spread the love on Christmas Day.
For marketing executive Rafa Alunan and his wife bag designer Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Christmas is that time to create fun memories and be creative with their three children, Lucas, Helena, and Diego. It is also a time for family get-togethers with Rafa’s dad Raffy, mom Elizabeth, and the rest of the Alunan and Aranaz families.
As a designer, Amina loves to decorate not only bags but their home as well. Every Holiday season, she thinks of a color theme for their home, and depending on her choice, she starts to source out pieces from different places to complete her display.
Instead of the usual gifts, Rafa and Amina have also come to splurge on trips with their kids. They say the memories they get to create as a family are truly priceless, something they are sure to remember for the rest of their lives.
Home for the holidays
For stylish siblings Daryl and Andre Chang, holidays are spent in Cebu, the city where they grew up, and where their dad Leoncio is still based. Holidays are usually low-key, celebrated with a lauriat dinner on Christmas Eve and lechon for Christmas lunch.
Daryl and Andre take gift-giving very seriously, and pay painstaking attention to detail in whatever they do — from the choice of gifts down to the choice of wrapper. But more than being beautiful, the siblings agree that the perfect gift is something that a person will cherish long after the holidays are over.
With their busy schedules, Daryl and Andre make sure they spend quality time together either in Manila or in Cebu, making family traditions more memorable with their dad.
It’s a grand celebration for fashion photographer BJ Pascual, who spends Christmas with his lolo and lola. After all, BJ says they are his family, and he wouldn’t be where he is in the industry without the unwavering support of his “wowo” and “wowa,” how he fondly calls his grandparents.
Pascual sees to it that he does something special for them during the holidays. Every year, the Pascuals gather in their ancestral home in Cavite and celebrate in true Filipino fashion, that is with festive food and lots of merry-making.
Home and away
A time to get together, no distraction and just family time is how successful entrepreneurs Eric and Bea Dee spend their Christmas every year, with son Braeden.
Now on their second Christmas as a family, the couple is easing into new holiday traditions together, while still keeping a few ties that bind for their own families. While they travel extensively, they make it a point to celebrate Christmas Eve in the Philippines, where food is in abundance and family is present.
They agree, “Christmas is best celebrated with family, with gift-giving tradition adding to the fun and excitement during the holidays.”