After two years of pandemic Christmases of gloom and dreariness, this 2022 Christmas is beginning to look like a traditional Filipino Christmas of joy and cheer.
People are more enthusiastic and energetic in preparing for the holidays this year. Major streets are already decorated with colorful lanterns and lights that twinkle at night. Sidewalk vendors have set up makeshift stands to sell their lanterns and homemade Christmas decorations. Shopping malls have put up their window displays of toys and gifts. Although Covid 19 is still around, the malls hum with the hustle and bustle of crowds all day long as shoppers and children rush from store to store looking for the perfect gifts for friends and kins
Many homes have star-shaped lanterns brightening up their windows at night. They stay lit until early dawn for people going to church to attend simbang gabi, the early morning novena of Masses in preparation for Christmas. Big houses show beautifully decorated Christmas trees through their bay windows and huge glowing multi-colored lanterns adorn their gates. Christmas carols are being aired over the radios and in the shops again.
There are concerns over the soaring prices of food particularly such noche buena fares as ham, queso de bola, canned fruit cocktail and cream but grocery stores are still full of shoppers looking for on- sale goodies for their special Christmas meal. The department stores are having brisk sales of Christmas items and supermarkets are thankful that people are buying their goods again as they constantly re-stock their shelves.
It looks like it will be a joyful Christmas this year. People are upbeat and more enthusiastic in celebrating this Christmas just as they did before the pandemic outbreak What is the reason for this optimism? The availability of vaccines and other preventive measures and the reported decrease in the number of cases of illness and death have brought back Christmas joy and cheer. The atmosphere is festive again. Allelluia!