Only ten (10) more days before Christmas and I still don't feel like it's Christmas. Taiwan do not celebrate Christmas so I usually have to be at work during the holidays unless it falls on a Sunday. This year, Christmas falls on a Monday so I will be at work all day...not my idea of a perfect Christmas.
The way I've celebrated Christmas since I came to Taiwan five years ago is mailing gifts to my nieces and nephews in the Philippines and the U.S. I've also used the Internet for buying gifts for my family and friends to let them know that I'm thinking about them during the holidays. eCards comes in handy too...there's just no Christmas cards in Taiwan good enough to send to family. Myself, I can't even remember the last time I received one.
I really miss Pinoy Style Christmas. I miss all the lanterns (parol) and all the great food! There's nothing like the traditional Filipino rice cakes! Filipinos take Christmas seriously. During this time of the year, even the poorest of the poor celebrates Christmas by making sure that their children have new outfits to wear to midnight mass and will have at least a good Christmas meal (noche buena). The family usually come together and you get to meet distant relatives you never even met before. Another great thing about the way the Filipinos celebrate Christmas is the midnight mass--people usually attend the midnight mass held on Christmas eve wearing their brand new clothes. Finally, on Christmas morning, all the children kisses their parents hand (bless) and the parents give their children, not gifts, but money or aguinaldo.