Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Taking Gifting to the Next Level

What is the meaning of Christmas if I am away? What is the meaning of giving if I cannot even share the food that I eat because I am into tears for homesickness? I have been away for several Christmas celebrations already from my family. That is the consequence of working for public safety sector where duty means being away during special occasions like Christmas, or New Year. There was even a birthday of my daughter which I missed because I was sent by my agency to Mindanao and give a lecture to our personnel. In government, when they give orders, they do not ask what your daughter’s birthday is – and for a single mom like me, being away during my child’s special day is too much guilt and pain to bear.

Since January, I have been away from home not because of work. I am on leave from work because I am taking up my master’s degree from an international school in Metro Manila. Since the program is full time, going home is like when I was at work in Quezon City – not often. This year, when I go home, I am always in a hurry. Because of that, I had to buy plane tickets instead of the usual bus ticket, which takes 12 hours travel. Therefore, I spent more in plane tickets this year just to be home with my family. Ask me about my wish, there is only one greatest wish that I have: Be home for Christmas.

ANGER-FREE zone. Reminding people of community values in Don Bosco, Calauan, Laguna.

Getting Rid of Anger and Guilt

My second wish for myself is a guilt-free and anger-free Christmas. Guilt-free means forgiving myself of the mistakes I did – making myself sorry and moving forward to do good for myself and to others. Guilt is brought about by simple and complex things in life. For example, riding the train and being not able to give a seat immediately to an elderly. For a culture raised with compassion, we always feel guilty for things that we should have done or we should have done better. Likewise, there are people whom I got angry with, how would I celebrate Christmas in hypocrisy if I am not able to forgive? I recently visited a resettlement area in Calauan, Laguna and I was impressed by the signboard that welcomes people who enter the village. It says – “anger-free zone”. Hence, I hope to control my temper and invest in patience.

Not only Santa, but mama will also be home for Christmas.

A Healthy Christmas

My fourth wish for myself is to sustain being healthy. Since I do not have much in life, my consolation of being rich is being healthy. For me, simply being healthy is already being wealthy. Being healthy makes me increase our savings rather than getting sick and spending our savings. Therefore, I hope to continue to buy additional health card for myself.

After wishing for myself, what then are my Christmas gift ideas for my loved ones this year? My first gift idea for my loved ones is having myself at home. Why so? Because by being at home, I am pretty sure that we can be together and partake whatever we have in the dining table.  The meaning of foods for Christmas is for a family to partake that food together. 

Source: 7 Ways to Re-Connect with Family, http://www.funandfoodcafe.com/family-friendly-meals/

Protecting Family 

My second gift idea for my family is to be able to buy health insurance for each of them. Since, my wish for myself is to be healthy; it is also my similar wish for each and every member of my family. If we can be healthy throughout the year, then for sure, Christmas will be better if we can save and enjoy each other’s company free from sickness and financial liabilities.

Pasalubong: A Filipino Way

Third, my wish to bring home some pasalubong and tangible gifts for Christmas. I am not used to buying much for myself because I am always wary of my personal expenses. I think that is normal for single moms who have nobody to share the expenses of raising a kid. Well, I wish that I will be able to bring home some fine donuts for my kid. Since my kid is asthmatic, there is always a moderation of everything like buying donuts instead of chocolates. Another is that I wish to give my parents a pair of running shoes each. I mean that I do not intend them to run but because I want to encourage them to value simple exercises like walking. It is not that they do not exercise because they are already doing lot of things at home. Since rubber shoes are not that much of my priority compared to basic needs like food, I cannot buy them good shoes.

Giving Back to Others in a Bigger Perspective

After wishing about for ourselves, how do I plan to give back to others this Christmas? First, an environment-friendly celebration. How to do it? Shopping using our old shopping bags instead of plastic or new paper bag. No food should be wasted from our home during Christmas – meaning, cooking only enough. Third, buying local produce in the market rather than buying imported items. This limits the carbon footprint brought about by the supply chain of goods that I will buy.

In Moderation

Second, reach out for neighbors. I do not have to go too far to reach out because sharing the celebration of Christmas to our neighbors who cannot enjoy what I enjoy and what my family can partake is already a message of Christmas to me. Neighbors are what we call on to during occurrence of disasters like typhoons and other natural hazards. It is time to share whatever we have to our less fortunate neighbors and how we do it? Cooking food for Christmas and inviting them at home or bringing them food makes me happy already. For me, sharing food for those who do not even have a kilo of pancit or spaghetti for Christmas is already something in our own little way.

Donating and Gifting Self into One

Third, I wish to continue the advocacy by donating and sharing to advocacy that reaches out for the poor. We have communities that are affected by recent Typhoon Lando. We may not be able to personally go to the areas to personally give a bunch of goods to the affected families but there are non-government organizations that are capable of bringing our pooled shares to them. For example, the Philippine Red Cross is known for its emergency missions. You may not be able to join the team but there is a way of sharing. How? Through membership, volunteerism, donations and being a blood donor. How I do this? I enroll my family to membership in the PNRC. As low as 50 pesos for classic membership, you can already become a member of the Red Cross. Once a member, you can get benefits like daily hospital allowance and medical reimbursement allowance.

Giving a Bear of Joy

Also, you can give a Bear of Joy. How to do this?  By supporting the SM Christmas Bears of Joy - http://smcares.com.ph/newsevents/?p=993. This Christmas, SM Cares Foundation will spearhead this project to less fortunate children like those who are in orphanages. By sharing 200 pesos, you get to keep one bear and donate to those children. In such way, you may not be able to touch them personally but you have a way to share a little of what you’ve got for the year this Christmas.

The growing inequity in our societies can be addressed by each one of us working to close that gaps in our little and big ways. We may not have enough to share but by being ourselves and sharing a little already makes a difference from a community that cares for each other. We can still have like that of Merry SM Christmas. 

Shopping Sale

Few weeks more to go before Christmas and for those who have enough (or more than enough), you can already start your holiday shopping in SM malls. Let the holiday shopping begin by having your holiday gift baskets as low as P350 starting October 1. You can also avail of up to 50% off on kid's shoes and accessories from October 1 to 31. Lastly, you can have your Watsons gift sets as low as P99. 

For more updates about this year’s “Merry SM Christmas” campaign, visit SM’s official Christmas microsite (https://www.smsupermalls.com/merrysmchristmas2015) and follow its official social media accounts at Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/smsupermalls), Twitter (https://twitter.com/smsupermalls), and Instagram (https://instagram.com/smsupermalls/); and get an insider access to all the fun happenings at SM Supermalls nationwide through Viber (http://chats.viber.com/SMsupermalls). Shoppers can actively share their holiday merriments inside the SM Supermalls by posting their photos on social media and adding the hashtag #MerrySMChristmas2015.