Christmas is the season for giving. Where ever you are in the world, Christmas evokes a spirit of generosity from everyone. Giving of Christmas gifts in the Philippines is a huge thing. Big or small, Filipinos appreciate receiving gifts from loved ones.
Filipinos give gifts to almost everyone they know — friends, relatives, teachers, a favorite bank teller and even that kid who helped out her child in schoolyard once. It’s not hard to give gifts but picking out the best ones can be quite a challenge. Here are some great ideas for Christmas gifts in the Philippines.
Christmas Gift Ideas
Moms are the most giving people in the world. So wouldn’t it be nice to give them something they deserve in return? Moms appreciate the littlest of things but a great appliance to make things easier at home will make her heart sing. Something nice to wear will be great, too! The following gifts will be perfect:
- Air Fryer
- Essential oil diffuser
- Plush robe
- Spa voucher
- Charm bracelet
Dads are kind of hard to give gifts to because they seem to have everything. They like expensive things but would also appreciate a simple greeting card. If you’re in a generous mood and would like to give Dad something memorable this Christmas, here are some ideas:
- Leather wallet
- Anti-theft satchel
Teenagers can be picky because they don’t know what they really want. Or rather, they want a lot of things. Electronics are your best bet for kids this age, especially now that classes are held online. A new smartphone will blow their minds as will new accessories to add to their swag.
- Nameplate/initial necklace
- Trendy phone case
- Portable photo printer
- A Netflix subscription
- Skincare products
- Wireless headphones
- An oversized hoodie
- Waterproof bluetooth speakers
- New video game
Kids get excited no matter what they get for Christmas, especially when it’s toys. It’s easier to think of gift ideas for children than for adults. Christmas gifts for kids in the Philippines are often cheap and can be found in most department stores. Here’s a list of the most interesting gifts for the not-so-little ones this Christmas.
- Singing dolls
- Nail art set
- Calligraphy set
- Princess castle playset
- Lego set
- Toy toolset
- Talking microscope
- Basketball shoes
Babies are easiest to give gifts to. They’re not picky and will appreciate anything you give them by putting it in their mouths. Wide selections are available in shopping centers and online — from clothes and shoes to educational toys and care necessities. Make sure to pick out gifts that are 100% safe for the little ones and, if giving toys, that they’re colorful enough to engage them.
- Push walker
- Cloth diapers
- Bedtime storybooks
- Nightlight/white noise machine
- Comfy jammies
Filipino Gift-Giving Traditions
Christmas gifts in the Philippines are often exchanged among groups. The tradition of manito and manita is practiced by Filipinos of all ages. In schools, teachers facilitate the drawing of names on who gives gifts to whom. In families, it’s usually the parents who do this. Gifts are exchanged during Christmas parties and family gatherings.
Aguinaldo is gifting traditionally given by godparents to their godchildren. Kids seek out their godparents to ask for gifts which are often toys, clothes or cash. Cash usually come in Chinese envelopes called “ang pao” to bring luck and prosperity. The song “Mano Po Ninong, Mano Po Ninang” depicts the common tradition where the godchild takes the godparent’s hand and brings it to his or her forehead. This practice is called “pagmamano”. According to the song, the aguinaldo is handed to the child after doing mano.
For Filipinos living or working overseas, there is nothing quite like coming home to the Philippines for Christmas. But those who cannot assemble balikbayan boxes instead. Balikbayan roughly translates to going back to one’s town and these boxes do just that. Filipinos abroad fill these boxes with all sorts of goods. Chocolates, clothing, shoes, perfume, gadgets (new or used), personal care products, makeup and bags usually come in these boxes. The balikbayan boxes arrive during Christmastime and families usually make a huge event opening them.
Christmas Shopping in the Philippines
Shopping for Christmas gifts in the Philippines is a breeze. The country has a great number of malls and shopping centers. Online shops like Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora also add to the array of retail choices. As a result, Filipinos never run out of options for both a bargain and high-end shopping.
Filipinos living in large cities have easy access to the likes of SM and Ayala Malls. These retail giants have stores in most key cities in the Philippines including Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Tagaytay and Baguio, among others. People in Metro Manila also have Divisoria for wholesale and bargain shopping. You will find Divisoria a perfect place for gift shopping — almost everything is there at super low prices.
In recent years, Filipinos have embraced online shopping. Especially now that retailers offer cash-on-delivery as a payment option. Sites like Lazada, Zalora, Shopee, BeautyMNL, Sephora and Ebay have become largely popular. You can now purchase all sorts of Christmas gifts in the Philippines even if they’re from China, Australia, the United States and anywhere else in the world.
Pandemic Shopping in the Philippines
Since the outbreak hit in early 2020, Filipinos have been in different levels of quarantine. The national government has declared a state of emergency and movement has been restricted since. Public transportation and store hours are now limited, making it a challenge to shop for Christmas gifts in the Philippines this year.
While people aged between 15 and 65 are allowed to go out, safety protocols are in place to curb the spread of the virus. One must wear face masks, preferable surgical or N95. In addition, face shields are to be worn to protect the eyes. Most malls require a full face shield and not just the goggles type. Temperature checks done at entrances, and foot baths and sanitation booths are placed in strategic places. Individual shops often require health declaration forms and signing up for easier contact tracing.
The protocols make it more challenging and time-consuming to physically shop so malls also now offer virtual shopping. They have either set up their ecommerce sites or have systems in place where customers can chat with a bot for orders. The orders will then be picked up or delivered to the customer’s residence. Delivery service businesses have also become in demand among those who do not want to risk going out. Personal shoppers are also quite popular these days.
Through the best and worst of times, the Filipinos’ merry Christmas spirit shines through. Some would say that maybe Christmas is canceled this year but not for the Filipinos! Gifts, big or small, will always be given among friends and family. And the best part? The fact that Filipinos can still smile amidst the crisis is the best gift of all.