1. Christmas Bazaars (especially St. James the Great bazaar) - Touted as the king of all bazaars, this Ayala Alabang's annual bazaar is the must see for us. We never fail in visiting it every year. In fact, we even tried to be a concessionaire of Crafts & Novelties for two consecutive years. I will definitely miss the usual knick-knacks that can be found there which are likewise good gift items.
2. Starbucks Christmas Drinks + Annual Planner Promo - My customary drink at Starbucks during the yuletide season is the "Toffee Nut Latte". Fortunately, I can still enjoy a cup here in Singapore sans the planner. Getting the much coveted planner for the coffee aficionados became an annual tradition for my husband and I. Luckily, we can manage to get each every year. (We were really that loyal a customer).
3. 9 Morning Masses - With the arrival of the children, I was actually restricted from attending an early morning mass. I used to do this when I was still single and somehow, I'm missing this tradition.
4. Christmas Carols - In the Philippines, as early as September, we can hear Christmas Songs all over the country. I missed hearing them frequently. It's nearly December and I hardly hear any in our current location.
5. Well lighted and beautifully adorned houses - Back home, we love roaming around villages and exclusive estates just to view houses with adorable Christmas decorations. The sights bring us absolute delight. It made us feel the Christmas spirit more.
6. Distinctive Filipino Christmas Foods i.e. Native Delicacies such as Puto Bumbong and Bibingka - One of my favourite places for Christmas shopping is The Landmark in Makati. I love their Christmas decor items. Whenever I make a shopping trip there with my husband, we usually stop by Via Mare for Bibingka and Puto Bumbong. These delicacies have become Christmas food icons in the Philippines. I dearly missed them!
7. Early Christmas Bonus a.k.a. early Christmas Shopping (need I say more??!)
8. Christmas Party - Christmas in the Philippines is synonymous to parties, parties and more parties with of course food galore!!
9. Cool Weather Ambiance - Tagaytay used to be a 20 minute drive from home. I'm terribly missing its cool weather and calming scenery especially during the Christmas season since it's the coldest period. I missed wearing jackets and warmers.
10. Exchange Gifts - Apparently, it's only now that I realized how generous and thoughtful we, Filipinos are. No matter how small or big, we love to give gifts. The excitement and happiness we received from doing so is just second to none.
It's 35 days to go before Christmas. And as the day nears, more and more I'm won over by the thought that there's really no Christmas like in the Philippines...