We were never the type of family who always had trips planned when it was Christmas. Nor were we the type of people whose houses were lit with the brightest lights, front lawn decorated with the shiniest, prettiest Christmas decorations; we wouldn’t always have a Christmas tree to line gifts beneath with. Most of the time, the Christmas trees we’d see were the plastic ones displayed at the malls.
Growing up, we didn’t have much, but my mom and dad made sure that every Christmas we remember people who are less fortunate than we are. My family members always made a point to look around and notice all the street kids who would crowd around our car every time we’d go out. Through my family’s eyes, I saw compassion, rather than pity. On the week of Christmas, they’d make a point to prepare small meals – pandesal with spam or tuna or cheese, bottles of water, and paper napkins – which we’d stuff into paper bags. Then whenever we’d see street children sleeping on the streets or knocking on our doors, we’d stop and distribute the bags.
It wasn’t much, but we’d like to think that we were able to help someone in need in our own ways. It’s a tradition I’m proud of, something I’ll continue for the rest of my Christmases, and it’s all thanks to my inspiring siblings and mom who showed me how to have a giving heart full of compassion first hand.
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