I once heard that the Philippines has the longest celebration for Christmas. Some people start preparations when the "-ber" months arrive. For me, it sort of starts in November.
As a child, I remember that it was my mom's tradition to start putting up the Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations on November 1 (Looking back, I think my mom's reasons were practical... it was a non-working holiday, she doesn't have work... I used to think that's just how it was supposed to be). This practice went on until we got older and I started to be responsible for putting up the Christmas tree at our house. But when I moved out and had my own household, I forgot the tradition. I usually put up the Christmas tree when I feel like it. Last year, while Metro Manila and nearby areas were being ravaged by Typhoon Ondoy, I was obliviously putting up my Christmas tree. That was September.
This year is a little different. I have a little girl now and I want her to have the same magical experience I had as a child during Christmas time: Christmas tree, Christmas socks, "Santa", church service on Christmas eve, waking up midnight of Christmas eve to check what "Santa" left for me on my Christmas sock, to open gifts together and to have Noche Buena. I thought all families celebrated Christmas this way because it was the only way I have ever known. I want Andrea to have that too... and more, if possible.
So to start, we put up our Christmas tree on October 31 - November 1. Andrea sort of helped :)
And this is our tree after we were done:
I got lucky this year. My mom bought a new fiber-optic Christmas tree and decided not to decorate too much. I got to "borrow" (indefinitely, hehe) her ornaments. Most of the nice stuff on my tree are hers: the gold twigs, the ribbon, the gold filigree leaves, the gold pine cones. MG and I knew nothing much about Christmas trees when we got ours... we got a really big one, and later found out it costs a lot to decorate a big tree. Thanks to the additions from my mom, our tree this year looks... well... full :)
And since this is all for Andrea... she is allowed to play with the tree... pick Christmas balls, pull the ribbon, pull the leaves. Even if it means I have to stay up extra hours at night to put it back together again so it will look nice again when she sees it in the morning.