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CHRISTMAS FORUM

How stars celebrate 2021 holiday season amid COVID-19

/ 12:10 AM December 22, 2021

Maria Isabel Lopez


How are you celebrating the Christmas season to make it more meaningful despite the pandemic?

MARIA ISABEL LOPEZ

“I live abroad and am married to a Jewish husband, Jonathan Melrod. He doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but he is celebrating the Hanukkah now. New Year is celebrated not on Jan. 1 but—based on the Jewish calendar year Rosh Hashanah—on Sept. 25.

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“As a Filipino and a Christian, I continue to practice my traditions. This means there will be a Christmas tree at home, a Noche Buena feast, as well as gift-giving. I’m glad that my husband allows me to be who I am because he finds joy when I am happy during the holidays.

“This year, I will be having a pre-Christmas celebration in California with my daughter Mara, and then I will be with my husband on Christmas Day. I will also have a post-Christmas celebration with my son Ken in the Philippines (I will come home after Christmas).

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“To put meaning into the holidays, I will celebrate New Year with the Lumads and their Manobo leader Bai Bibyaon in UP (University of the Philippines) Diliman, where they sought refuge. The last time I celebrated Christmas with them was before the pandemic in 2018. I gave away art materials that I had collected from friends in California and conducted an art therapy workshop with them.”

Madeleine Nicolas

MADELEINE NICOLAS

“To be with family members and loved ones during the pandemic makes Christmas meaningful. Having Christmas decor, food on the table and gifts are just bonuses. It will be more meaningful if we can extend help to those who have nothing to eat, who are alone, who are sick and facing difficulties. Let’s donate whatever we can to those who are affected by Typhoon ‘Odette.’

“Christmas is also the perfect time to reflect on who to vote for and consider what’s best for our country. Let’s continue to be prayerful, hopeful and grateful despite the challenges. The first Christmas was pretty simple, so it’s OK if ours is, too.”

—Marinel Cruz and Rito P. Asilo
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TAGS: Madeleine Nicolas, Maria Isabel Lopez
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