Christmas in the Philippines is both an exciting and an anxious celebration not only for balikbayan Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) but for the common Filipino. Why is this so?
Many of us think that once a balikbayan comes to celebrate Christmas in the Philippines, he / she has lots and lots of money to spend. Many of us see balikbayans as “sign of peso”. Many of us expect them to give more than what they can. We fail to think that they too have a certain budget to spend.
For those employed in the public sector, they have their mid-year bonus and year-end bonus. Plus their 6 digit salaries and fringe benefits like free cooking gas, 1 cavan of rice, groceries every month. They can also easily get loans from the agencies. But the private sector employee has another story to tell.
Most private schools only give 13 month pay and gifts from the administration plus of course, gifts of love from the students and parents. Micro business owners need to pay many year-end taxes and requirements. They also can’t help but think about the renewal of different permits for the coming year. They need to prepare for that.
What point am I driving at? We can start to have a practical Christmas this year. We can educate our loved ones that the value of presence in our thoughts and hearts is far more important that any costly present (gift). We can celebrate Christmas even if we don’t have much money. We can celebrate Christmas by being spiritually devoted to Christ.