Over dinner while Christmas songs were being played, a friend asked, “When did you find out that Santa Claus is not real?” To which I immediately replied, “Ever since I knew about Christmas.” My answer came as a shock to everyone in the table as they felt sad for me since they think my parents were so “uncool” for robbing me the magic of this holiday.

Growing up, Santa and his friends along with Christmas stockings were just occasional toys and ornaments I became used to this time of the year. They would make our house nicer along with the fully decorated tree and bring smiles to our visitors whenever the biggest Santa would dance to a happy Christmas tune. As my friends share their own stories, I asked myself: did I missed out on any holiday magic because I did not believe that the man in red suit exists? That he would fly into our house and bring me presents because I’ve been nice all year round?

I might have, but the Christmas traditions I am used to have a magical effect on me the whole year round. It brings joy in my heart which is why I am always excited when the month of December comes around.

Tradition #1: Gestures of Generosity

Growing up, my parents never asked me what I wanted for Christmas because this season is all about giving back to the community where we are in – whether it be our helpers, my parents’ employees, church mates and/ or families we’ve interacted with during the year.

My parents told me that not everyone is happy when Christmas comes because they do not have money to buy presents for their family or even food in the table to usher the most joyous season. Thus, to bring smiles to their faces, we always prepare a pre-Christmas feast and give Noche Buena baskets to help ease their worrying about what to put on the Christmas table.

We do this not to let them know we are rich, because believe me we are far from it. We do this gesture because we wanted to share with them the blessings we received the whole year and thank them for being a blessing to our lives. Most of all, we wanted to let them know that this season is about the greatest gift and love of God to mankind – Jesus Christ. He alone is the main reason why we celebrate Christmas because He was born to save us from our sins and give us everlasting life. That is beyond any generosity or gift that man can do or give for his brothers.

Tradition #2: ‘I am thankful” list

If the 26th of December is “boxing day” for Australians, it is “thanksgiving day” in our household. It is the time where we gather in our dinner table, sip hot chocolate, and list down the things we are grateful for in the past year.

This is something I look forward to every year because due to the busyness of work, I have the tendency to complain rather than be thankful for what I have. As I sit down, relax, and reflect on how the year unfolded, I always get surprised to see the blessings I received and how God has answered my prayers beyond what I can imagine. Every year, I always reach the point where I thought I was able to give more than I was able to receive. Then when I write down my “I am thankful” list, it always surprises me that I have received so much more than I expected.

Since I am still single, I would still be doing these traditions with my family. And it is a tradition I plan to pass on to my own children as well. For now, Christmas will be magical than ever as we continue our custom of entertaining a house-full of people with music and good food. The lights would still twinkle and decorations shine even brighter. Christmas is and will always be special – even if Santa skips our house.

Image used under Creative Commons from buerserberg

Ceetee Punzalan

Ceetee is a Sun Life Digital Marketer and a part of the Brighter Life Team. In her quiet days, she loves to spend quality time with family and friends, read a book, or do what she does best - dreaming of exploring new places while savoring coffee.