A Filipino Xmas in the USA with Sheila

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We’re travelling around the world, visiting Christmas in all its diverse cultural forms. Join Sheila, Zanui’s Lead Designer, for a Filipino-American Christmas

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Around the globe, the festive season is celebrated in myriad ways. We’ve travelled from rural Australia to the Italian Alps, and now we’re dropping in on a Filipino-American festive bash with our lead designer Sheila + her fam.

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Noche Buena is the tradition of a grand family dinner after midnight mass in the Philippines. Sourced L to R: ‪infintyandbeyond.wordpress.com‪ and pasko2010.thefilipinoaustralian.com

Christmas is:

Food, food and more food!

My dad’s side of the family is Anglo-Saxon, and lots of them are pastors, ex-missionaries, and military chaplains, so Christmas is a sacred time for reflection. Dinner is a communal part of the day. We eat and go around the table sharing how our year had been and what we wanted to do next year.

My mom’s family is Filipino, so it’s the polar opposite! We all get together at the largest house we could fit into. My family is pretty large – around 70ish people (!) if everyone shows up – so we’re talking a pretty big house!!

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Christmas lanterns and mass in the Philippines. Sourced L to R: juice.ph and kinderchristmas.wikispaces.com

Just imagine tons of people out on the front lawn, in the backyard, down the side of the house and in every room. The noise level is seriously loud with everyone talking in Tagalog or some other dialect over the top of each other. You can’t hear yourself think!

Oh yeah, and there’s karaoke going on in the living room. At peak volume, of course. Kids running around and screaming – good times!

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Sourced L to R: 

In the middle of it all is the food. Two roast pigs and a whole bunch of Filipino food that I couldn’t tell you what it’s called. We just eat, talk (yell), and be merry till late. Then the kids open their presents. (No gifts for the oldies!)

I used to hate it since I didn’t know the language that well and the noise levels were just insane. But after a decade of being away – I miss it… And winter. Christmas in the summertime is just wrong!

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Now in Australia, I don’t really celebrate it that much since my partner is Buddhist. We just have a small family BBQ with Street Fighter + Mortal Kombat tournaments as our own weird family tradition! (So great.)

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Gift vouchers for those hard to buy for and the stylish Table Grill from Eva Solo, available online at Zanui.

Christmas dinner is:

Either a roasted pig and weird pinoy food or a turkey with all the trimmings. Depends which side my family we’re visiting. In Australia, it’s a sausage sizzle and Vietnamese, Chinese + Cambodian food. (Yum!)

Fave festive celebration

A Christmas Story. It’s usually on TV every day during this time – best movie ever!

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Hot tip for surviving Christmas

Move overseas – escape the noise. 🙂

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Zanui gift vouchers – available online here! Easy-peasy!

Sheila’s gift pick

Gift vouchers, gift vouchers, gift vouchers! Can’t go wrong with vouchers. Great for fussy people and folks you don’t know so well. Easy win! Everyone is happy. 😉


Lead image: Filipino Christmas parols sourced thedigitaltrekker.com

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.