December 25, 2020

I’ve lost count on how many carols I’ve listened to this morning alone. If you know me personally, then you probably know that I’ll take any chance I get to celebrate any occasion. Obviously, this is a special one since it’s the birth of Jesus and this is the first time I’ll be spending Christmas here at home in ages…well, okay, maybe in three years. Still, ages.

I’m not even going to lie, the thought of being home up until December was quite distressing back in April. Eight months is a really long time to be stuck at home…like, literally, confined to our own homes due to COVID-19. However, when I came to think of it, spending Christmas with my family was really the cherry on top. I’d forgotten how it was like to start all the festivities as early as September. Yes, we start the holidays as soon as the months turn -Ber. It starts from September and it ends in early January. That’s how festive Filipinos are!

In 2018, I’d spent Christmas in a country that didn’t really celebrate it. As we all know, Morocco is a Muslim country so they really couldn’t care less about this holiday. It was just yet another day; which was quite weird to me since I came from a country that really goes all out. However, it was a really fascinating, interesting and memorable celebration.

That night, we hosted a dinner with a bunch of friends and travellers at the hostel that we were staying in. We never really played a bunch of carols; instead, we listened to a lot of folk and blues music. It was a great experience, and it’s probably one of the most memorable Christmases I’ve ever experienced.

Just last Christmas, I was getting toasted on the beaches of Mexico. I had gotten a very painful stomach flu which really had me indisposed for quite a few days. However, I felt quite great as soon as Christmas Eve came. Was it a Christmas miracle? Well, I think so.

That night, the owner of our hostel hosted a Christmas Dinner for all the guests. We had a really nice dinner consisting of roasted potatoes, stuffed turkey, gravy, cheesy broccoli, cranberry sauce and a lot of wine! I spent that Christmas feeling like I was back in university again. We played an incredible amount of beer pong, we went swimming and then we partied like it was the end of the world. Looking back, it was definitely one of the craziest Christmases that I’ve ever spent. It was great though, don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved every moment of it!

I was working on both Christmases of 2016 and 2017. Does that even count as a holiday?

To be quite fair, every Christmas that I’ve spent as an adult has truly been memorable.

When I was in Mexico, I told my mom, “I’m always in interesting places every year for the holidays.”

Then she responded, “Yeah, you’re everywhere except where you actually need to be, which is home.”

This is the year when I’ll finally get to celebrate the holidays with the people who know me best and with the people I love most. I may not be on the road feeling the thrill of it all, but playing games with my little cousins is equally as fun too! I actually may or may not have spent my entire paycheck last November buying presents. All from local small businesses because #supportlokalph! Did I regret burning that much money? Meh. Was it worth it? Definitely!

As a traveller, I’ve missed a lot of special moments with my family. There were holidays that I didn’t get to enjoy, birthdays that I badly wanted to come to, and so much more! However, this is the reality that I chose to live. So it’s the price I’ve got to pay. Although, it also doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy these simple thrills every once in a while. Today, I’ve never been happier to be at home. I’m really looking forward to spending this beautiful time with my family.

I hope all of you are spending the holidays with the people that you love most. After all the craziness that this year has brought us, it’s only fitting that we end it with the people that we most care about. If you’re abroad, then I hope you’ll get to find people with the same spirit as you. In the end, I know all will be well!

Where will you be spending the holidays this year?

Oh, I wanted to share one of my favourite carols for you to listen to. This is a classic song and I’m sure that you’ve probably already heard of it. So get into the festive spirit and enjoy this season.

No matter where you are, let’s all be reminded that the true reason behind all the celebration is none other than Jesus Christ. So let’s all celebrate the birth of our Saviour today, and every single day. Merry Christmas to all and blessings!

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

Matthew 2:10-11 NIV

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