For a vast majority of Filipinos, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Bringing us warmth and happiness year after year, the Yuletide season has become a time for us to get together with our loved ones. However, with the country still fighting COVID-19, we have to change the way we observe the year-end holidays. How exactly can we do that without taking away the revelry and warmth? Ahead, we give you some Christmas safety tips that would allow you to celebrate holidays in the Philippines without risking your health.
Tip #1: Do your Christmas shopping online
As soon as the “Ber” months begin, you’ve probably started budgeting to save up for your Christmas presents. After all, aside from picking out surprises for your family, it has become a sort of social responsibility to give gifts to pretty much everyone you know. You have to have one for each of your officemates, friends, relatives, and of course, your godchildren who would no doubt be demanding an aguinaldo this month.
Instead of going out to the malls to get stuff to wrap and give, do your shopping online instead. This way, you won’t need to commute and go out so there’s less chance of getting the virus. And of course, not only do the online shopping sites and apps give you more options to choose from, but they offer huge discounts too. Watch out for 12.12 and other Christmas sales to save!
Tip #2: Send gifts via courier
Speaking of presents and Christmas safety, instead of giving your gifts personally, have them delivered instead. Meeting up with people can put not only you, but also them, at risk. Locally, we have a number of apps that offer on-demand delivery services for cheap. See them as the modern-day Santas and consider booking one to send out your gifts to your loved ones. Just remember, to protect yourself and the delivery personnel, practice a contactless transaction.
Tip #3: Organize an online party for everyone's safety
The Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 438,069 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines as of December 5, 2020. Because of this overwhelming number of cases, social distancing is still mandatory and mass gatherings are still not allowed. In an interview with the Inquirer, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año detailed that this includes Christmas parties and family reunions — that is, get-togethers with relatives outside your immediate family.
It’s an unfortunate sacrifice we have to make but we can still find other ways to make merry with everyone you love. Make use of your digital devices and organize a virtual party through a video messaging platform. This way, we remain connected with people dear to us all while remaining safe and sound in the comfort of our own homes. We managed to shift work, conferences, and even healthcare online — who says we can’t do the fun things in life virtually too?
Tip #4: Travel across the Philippines with care
Traveling restrictions within the country have relaxed, so feel free to go on a getaway with your immediate family. But, before everything, choose a destination that’s not a COVID-19 hotspot and check the local travel regulations. Whether you’re planning a staycation across the country or hoping to spend the end of the year in your provincial home, it’s important you follow these to not expose your family and the locals to health risks.
Take care to note if you’d be required to acquire travel passes, medical certificates from doctors, swab tests, or even do a 14-day quarantine before and after you arrive. Visiting a place spontaneously without complying with these might cause you trouble.
Tip #5: Enjoy the little things this Christmas
Let’s face it: 2020 has given us more problems and stress to manage than we can count. The pandemic caused quite a stir and life as we know it rapidly changed. For Christmas safety, we’ve had to give up things that gave us joy — including some of the Filipino traditions we’ve come to love and look forward to every December.
Despite all that, don’t let the pandemic dampen the Christmas spirit. Take a break this holiday season and savor the little things we can do with our family at home. Cook up a sumptuous Noche Buena, watch holiday movies, and find new ways to show your love. Discover the true meaning of Christmas in the simple blessings we have.