There’s no force on Earth that can stop Filipinos from celebrating Christmas, not even the new coronavirus disease. Things will be different this year, that’s for sure, but there are still things we can look forward to.
Jose Mari Chan’s “Christmas in Our Hearts” is already playing on the radio. Grade school teachers are already counting down days until Christmas, and Christmas trees in offices and homes are slowly being put up.
For some families who don’t have their own trees, however, going to the mall during the holiday season is a treat. It allows them to take photos with beautiful backdrops without spending a single centavo.
SM Supermalls president Steven Tan assures everyone that the mall chain will still put up their Christmas trees and their centerpieces. They will launch them in November, after Halloween.
This is not, however, a go signal for children and senior citizens to flock to the malls. Tan told Lifestyle that they are going “overboard” in making sure that “our malls are clean, safe and provide all the essentials one needs, from groceries, bills payment and medicines to gifts, toys and unlimited food choices.”
Another event that children look forward to are the Christmas parades, as they transform the familiar malls into a theme park for a few minutes.
“This year we will not have as many parades due to social distancing guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Trade and Industry, but nevertheless, we will continue to entertain kids and adults alike online,” Tan said. Events will be livestreamed on Facebook.
The same goes for sale events, too. The deals and discounts that everyone loves can be had through flash sales online.
The early celebration is also part of the Filipino Christmas. The mall chain launched their 100-day countdown to Christmas Sept. 16 with the theme “Ngayong Pasko, Sama-sama Tayo sa SM Supermalls—Everything’s Here!”
“We will have Santa appearances both on ground and online,” Tan said. “Instead of printed catalogs for gift choices, we will now have e-catalogs so you can shop early and either pick the gifts up or have them delivered.”
For those who must go out, Tan said they will be treated to the giant Christmas trees and lighted centerpieces. There will still be Christmas markets and food fairs that will feature products of micro, small and medium enterprise tenant-partners nationwide.
The Christmas Bears of Joy will offer something unique, too. They will now have masks and costumes to honor the front-liners, according to Tan.
For diners, Tan said that restaurants have “acrylic table top shields, mobile menus and touch-free, cashless payment systems in place. We have converted our event centers and open gardens to designated dining spaces with fresh air and good ventilation.”