Nothing brings a family closer than surviving Christmas shopping in Divisoria and Greenhills, but these 10 holiday traditions do a pretty decent job of forging family unity, too! Okay, kidding aside, Christmas is really about family. You may have your holiday parties and your outings with your friends, but make sure you reserve time for your own people. So this Christmas, instead of holing yourself up in your room or going to the mall, why don’t you…

1. …listen to a Christmas carol
Stop pretending that no one’s home when the neighborhood carollers drop by, and gather everyone in the family to listen to a song or two before generously sending the choir on their way. Request for favorites such as “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” to really get you in the Christmas spirit.

2. …make Christmas cookies
It doesn’t matter if you can’t make them like lola used to. After all, it’s not how they taste, but how you all worked together to keep them from burning that matters.

3. ...decorate a Christmas tree
Remember how you used to argue about who gets to put the star on the tree? Bring those fond memories back, but this time, minus the hair pulling and the crying.

4. …string up the parol
You can DIY your own parol—okay, who are we kidding! Get the flashiest parol your parents’ money can buy and watch with pride as it outshines every other family’s lantern in the neighborhood.

5. …attend Simbang Gabi
Give those holiday parties a rest, and join your family for nine nights from December 16 to December 24. Remember, you get one wish every time you complete Simbang Gabi. P.S. Not really.

6. …eat bibingka and puto bumbong
After each Simbang Gabi, make sure you stop by the ever busy bibingka and puto bumbong stands. Hang around long enough, and you’re bound to run into your old high school crush.

7. …attend the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)
Word on the street is that Enteng Kabisote, Panday, and Shake, Rattle, and Roll will not be included in this year’s MMFF. Get ready for new blood entries like Boy, Girl, Bakla, Tomboy and Pagpag.

8. …feast on the Noche Buena
Noche Buena can be as traditional or as modern as you want it. Volunteer to be the dessert chef and whip up a Three Sauce Chocolate Cake or a Fudgy Ice Cream Cake courtesy of Good Housekeeping!

9. …exchange Christmas gifts
No matter how old you get, you have to admit that opening presents is still your favorite part of Christmas. Make sure you give everyone in the household (even those who say that they don’t want any presents) something to open on Christmas Day.

10. …visit relatives from house to house
Wear your best dress out and visit your relatives from house to house. Remember, you’re never too old to ask your favorite tito or tita for aginaldo.

(Photo by MeRawrFloor via Flickr Creative Commons)

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