Eden Calixto, wife of Pasay Mayor Tony Calixto, Pasay City Vice Mayor Marlon Pesebre, Santa Claus, and president of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Hans Sy.
MANILA, Philippines - It’s that time of the year again. Wattage ratings and usage go up because of the extra lights around the house. Parols and LED drip lights hang on trees, illuminating once-dark pathways. Mendicant children sing songs as they beg at your car window during rush hour traffic. Jose Mari Chan plays on the radio.
It’s Christmas and, for Filipinos, it’s actually been creeping in since September. It’s the “ber,” apparently, that gets everyone going.
But what’s not to like about Christmas, anyway? Families getting together, bonding, sharing gifts, telling stories, seeing how magical it a time it is for the children, and re-living cherished memories – this is all good stuff. It’s tempting to adopt a “bah humbug” kind of attitude, but it’s more difficult to keep that up than to give into the Christmas spirit. Besides, all the wine, eggnog, and other “Christmas spirits,” once one has consumed the right amount, can turn any Scrooge into a jolly, frolicking St. Nick.
For many families, the idea of Christmas starts in the home. The tree goes up, decorating it becomes a family affair, throw pillow covers are changed to the sparkly ones, wreaths are hung on the doors, and mom and dad disregard the spike in the electricity bill for November/December because it makes the kids happy. But as it is, not all families are so lucky. For others the tree and the decorations have to be overlooked for more important expenses. And although the tree and the wreaths and the parols are just a bonus on top of the real meaning of the Holidays, it’s nice to know that families that can’t decorate at home are free to enjoy the festivities elsewhere.
This month, SM Supermalls officially kicked off their Christmas campaigns, none grander than at SM Mall of Asia with its 50-foot tree decked in toys and twinkling lights as a centerpiece. Santa Claus even made a guest appearance, what with his busy schedule at the North Pole and everything.
“It’s very important for us to be able to signal the start of Christmas in the mall. We really would like to be able to remind everyone that Christmas is really the spirit of sharing and giving, and we’re happy to jumpstart things here,” says Annie Garcia, president of SM Supermalls.
SM Mall of Asia’s schedule is packed with activities that children will surely enjoy. The Sylvanian Families will be from The Power Rangers on Dec. 1-2, and Garfield and his friends on Dec. 8-9. The Hasbro Grand Toy Fair will also happen from Dec. 13-19, and from Dec. 15-16, kids and kids-at-heart can get the chance to meet Mr. Potato Head and Play Doh Tubby. On the following weekends until Jan. 6, the Lalaloopsy Dolls will be around, too.
“Every mall has its own theme and program. For example, in Megamall we have Mickey and Minnie Mouse, in SM North EDSA we have Hello Kitty, and in Fairview we have characters from Madagascar. So its really signaling the start of a wonderful celebration across all of our 46 malls,” continues Garcia.
Christmas is also a time for sharing, and SM Mall of Asia mall-goers can celebrate the season of giving by taking part in the Bears of Joy project where, for P100, shoppers will receive two bears. One will be for them and the other bear will go to a charity to be given to a child for Christmas.
But the humongous tree and all the bright lights are definitely a sight to see. “Christmas is about happy memories. And we want to recreate that feeling with the various Christmas displays and decorations that we have set up in our different malls. When you walk into a mall and see the bright Christmas décor you’re reminded of feelings like when you received your first toy from Santa, or seeing your stocking full, or getting a present from your parents, or a sibling, or a special friend. And that feeling is priceless. It’s not just about getting gifts; it’s about getting that feeling when you’re in the company and thoughts of loved ones.”
For more information about the Christmas festivities at SM Mall of Asia and other SM Supermalls, visit www.smsupermalls.com.
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