Jose Mari Chan in search of Christmas artist

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
Jose Mari Chan in search of Christmas artist
Jose Mari is looking for a teen girl who gifted him with her painting that illustrated his hit song, Christmas in our Hearts, 13 years ago.
STAR / File

Is July too early to be thinking of Christmas? Not really. August is just around the corner and before you know it, the “ber” months will be here and then Christmas Day itself. I love Christmas all year long. I think everybody should think about it all the time. People are nicer, kinder and filled with joy at Christmastime. There is always a sense of peace and a feeling of hope.

Jose Mari Chan (JMC), our very own Mr. Christmas, is thinking about Christmas earlier than usual this year. And the reason for this is, of course, his monumental contribution to the annual holidays, the song Christmas in our Hearts. Here is what the esteemed singer and songwriter says.

“Thirteen years ago, at the height of the popularity of my Christmas in our Hearts, there was a teen-aged lady who gifted me with a painting that she did illustrating my song. She came to the house with her Mom to present the large painting to me and my wife. I still keep that painting at home and I often wonder where that young painter is today. She is probably in her late 20s by now. I still keep our photo taken together when she came to the house that day.”

Now JMC has a problem. He cannot remember the name of the artist. Who can she be? Judging from the painting in the picture, she was at that young age, already an accomplished painter. She made a wonderful addition to the many memories that Christmas in our Hearts has brought to JMC these past three decades. It is just, too, bad he is unable to remember her name.

But Jose Mari has decided to do something about that lapse. He is now reaching out to her or to maybe some of her friends who might come across this piece and hopefully get in touch with me. You can e-mail me at cita_gil@yahoo.com or you can go to Facebook at Cita Gil.

As for Christmas in our Hearts, the malls have not started playing the song. Maybe in August. Some shops, however, have put out the remainder of last year’s Christmas decorations. It is time to clear out storage space in anticipation of the new stocks for this year, which will go on display in October. So if you want to do your shopping early, you can get really good Christmas stuff for your home at low prices at this time.

The downside to this is that you will not be doing your Christmas shopping to the tune of Christmas in our Hearts. Truth to tell, I see this song as the best incentive there is to spending your money. It is a harbinger of goodwill. You hear it and you feel happy and giddy and longing to start buying presents for your loved ones.

Here is hoping that when Christmas in our Hearts starts playing to herald the coming Holidays, it will also be in celebration of a happy COVID-19 free time for us and the whole world. Maybe not as normal as we like to remember. It is, too, soon for that. But a hopeful reminder that this Christmas will be better. No, I do not want to say better. I prefer happy. I want this Christmas to be happier than last year.

For those of you still new to the phenomenal Christmas in our Hearts, here are the facts. The song is a duet between Jose Mari and his daughter Lisa. It is the title track of the biggest selling album in the Philippines. It has now sold almost a million copies.

The album line-up includes: A Wish on Christmas Night, Do You Hear What I Hear, Mary’s Boy Child, A Christmas Carol, A Perfect Christmas, Give Me Your Heart for Christmas, This Beautiful Day, The Sound of Life, Christmas Children, Little Christmas Tree, When a Child is Born, It is the Lord, The Lord’s Prayer, Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep) and May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.

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