#AskMargie: Christmas during disasters

With all the disasters that struck the Philippines this year, how can we deal with a festive atmosphere? Should we even try?

MANILA, Philippines – With all the disasters that struck the Philippines this year, how are we supposed to celebrate Christmas?

In this week’s episode of #AskMargie, Dr. Margie Holmes talks about celebrating the holidays in spite of tragedies.


This year has been hard on some of our fellow Filipinos. We’ve had the Zamboanga standoff, the earthquake in Bohol, and the world’s most powerful storm to hit land. As Christmas nears, I asked: for both the survivors and those not affected, how can we deal with a festive atmosphere? Should we even try?

Some of you said cancelling Christmas is just not an option.

Ella Kintanar: I don’t want to cancel Christmas because we celebrate it to mark Jesus’ birth. It’s still an occasion for family to get together, and family is very important to Filipinos. I cannot imagine how they will celebrate Christmas in the tent cities and in Bohol where most of their churches are gone. But I do know the adults will say that for the sake of the children, they will try to put a meal together for Noche Buena, and will even sing Christmas carols.

Bert Quibuyen: I still feel we should continue to celebrate Christmas. It’s our national therapy. Christmas is something all Pinoys look forward to, and to deny them Christmas is denying them their source of happiness and inspiration amidst the tragedies.

Many of you said it’s better to keep celebrations simple.

Desiree Sison: We don’t have to skip Christmas celebrations this year but maybe do it in austerity. The joy and heartwarming get-togethers will still be there notwithstanding the simplicity of it all.

Diana Sayson: Christmas is not about the parties but about love & sharing. Festivities should at least be of gratitude and remembrance and less decadence, not the babaw showing off of wealth.

Juseph Elas: Empathizing is okay. But to “entirely” cut our enjoyment because of what happened is too much. We can’t parallel our lives to the lives of those greatly battered by the disasters. We could still celebrate the way we do it while including those victims in our prayers.

Medy and Annie present an option: donate money and resources to the survivors.

Medy Santiago: The very few Christmas parties I have attended have all been toned down. No more games and prizes, the money was donated to organizations helping Yolanda survivors.

Annie Rey: I scrapped Christmas celebrations at home. I cannot bear to celebrate knowing my relatives in Samar and Leyte are homeless. It’s not so hard to do. I am donating all Christmas money to the kids.

Peter Pedro: Invite a homeless family and celebrate Christmas with them. Give them a warm place to rest and sleep, offer them the usual seasonal feast. Open your hearts, your home and your wallets to those who are less fortunate.

Cenon Palomares: I respect those who have decided to not celebrate Christmas this year, for whatever reason. Whatever we decide to do, let’s stop justifying our acts. it would be great if we don’t judge others.

WRAP UP Perhaps the best way to end this show is to quote Pierce Docena, a fellow psych professor from UP who said this on his wall: : I saw many rainbows this week, reminding me not to lose hope and to know that there’s still beauty amidst destruction.
Thank you to everyone who expressed their concern, prayed for our safety, and extended help in various ways. I am touched by your expressions of love.

Life is still difficult in Tacloban, and I need to constantly remind myself that I still have my family, bB, my friends, my Psych family, and will be seeing my students again in January. That’s more than enough. I’m still here. And I will constantly strive to be happy and to be grateful for all the blessings that come my way. Tindog Tacloban!

– Rappler.com

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