Christmas in the Philippines

Invisible Ninong? Nanay Santa? Filipino alternatives to the usual Christmas characters
Invisible Ninong? Nanay Santa? Filipino alternatives to the usual Christmas characters
The holiday's most beloved characters, like Santa and Frosty the Snowman, remain very Western, so we asked readers for their ideas!

Let’s be honest: As much as Filipinos have fully embraced Christmas and made it their own, the holiday’s most beloved characters – Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and that whole army of elves – remain very Western. It’s hard to relate to a large, old, white man in an unbearably warm, fur-lined outfit, or to some sentient creature made completely out of snow, when you’re living in the tropics.

So, we asked our readers to suggest Filipino alternatives that would make more sense to local merrymakers, and here are our top picks:

That classic Ninong-Ninang combo

Our readers hit the nail on the head when they suggested that ninongs and ninangs make for the perfect Christmas caricatures. Who else, after all, suddenly become important to us only once a year? Our godparents who are obliged to give us cash and presents, of course!

Gossip girls

In the Philippines, tsismis is abound all year round, so why not make the neighborhood gossipmonger the local Christmas mascot?

Santa substitutes

Some readers still love the idea of Santa Claus, so they decided to “Filipinize” the jolly old man, and guess what? It could actually work!

Hugot for the holidays

Finally, there’s nothing more Filipino than having hugot – or feeling sentimental – especially during the Christmas season. Whether you’re single and looking for that one person to keep you warm in the December chill, or children who wish their parents working abroad could finally make it back home, the following reader suggestion could just be the best embodiment of the season.

What would you suggest as a fitting Filipino alternative to the usual Christmas characters? –