Grammys, Emmys, Disney—my family’s unconventional Christmas tradition | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The author’s family costumed for their Christmas performances
The author’s family costumed for their Christmas performances

Filipinos are one of, if not the most, celebratory people in the world when it comes to Christmas. We count Sept. 1 as the start of the season, put up Christmas trees no later than October, and have feasts so grand that American Thanksgiving is their only rival. My family participates in these festivities, too. However, we have one tradition special to us: our annual Christmas presentation.

I wasn’t old enough to remember the start of these presentations. They’ve been a part of our family’s Christmas parties since I could walk. They started small—my cousins singing while the rest of my family sits on the floor to watch. Over the past few years, though, they’ve turned into large-scale performances with props, elaborate costumes and award shows afterward.

Let me tell you about this tradition dearly loved by my family.

Around the first week of December, my tita announces a theme. It can be anything—over the years we’ve done the Grammys, musicals, Disney, and many more. This year it’s ’60s-’70s retro pop. You need to dress up and perform a song based on the chosen theme. Sometimes we assign specific movies, songs or musicals to each family depending on the theme, though for most years, it’s been anything goes, as long as it fits the subject.

Talent is a requirement

Just know that my family, especially my cousins, love to sing, dance and play musical instruments. A few of my cousins even work in the entertainment/art industry. We joke that having talent is a requirement to be in the family.

In the weeks preceding the Christmas party, everyone comes up with their performance. We buy costumes, practice songs and make props. The costumes are no joke, too.

When the theme was musicals, my cousin who had chosen “Wicked” as the musical for her family, painted herself green and held a broom the whole night just to show her role as Elphaba.

On the day of the Christmas party, spirits are high as we try to hide from everyone what our performance will be. You have to be extremely careful who you tell about your performance, as everyone is your competition for the awards.

When it’s time to perform, usually at night, it’s entertaining in itself to see the costumes. We’ve had “The Phantom of the Opera” masks, “Chicago”-esque outfits patterned with lace, or even “The Greatest Showman” hats. Whatever the costumes are, they’re always interesting.

We get started with the performances once everyone’s changed into their costumes. It’s always fun to watch as everyone sings, dances or acts. My parents and I have done a reenactment of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” Fearless tour performance complete with a costume change, a Harry Potter Hogwarts exam full of magic tricks and a “Sound of Music” medley.

After the performances, we have the awards show. We have awards ranging from Best New Actress to Best Costume. You’re rewarded not just with bragging rights; there’s also a cash prize. Sometimes there are even physical trophies. When we did the Grammys theme, my artist cousin made papier-mâché Grammy trophies.

Because of this tradition, I look forward to Christmas even more. It gives me a chance to see my family’s talents, humor, and creativity. It’s a tradition I can’t wait to pass down to the next generation. —CONTRIBUTED

The author is a Grade 8 student at Homeschool Global.

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