By Chin Bautista Joson

Among the many family traditions we have during the festive season, my favorites are dressing up the Christmas tree and exchange gifts. From the time I had a home of my own, putting up a Christmas tree during the holiday season was always a must for me. Now, each year, my three kids and I have a tradition of putting up the trinkets. Putting the star is now the responsibility of my 10-year-old daughter since she’s old enough. I love that while doing all these, they talk about how Santa might not like this and that. This year, they talked about how they want to bake Santa cookies.

The other Christmas tradition I love is exchange gifts, particularly exchange gift giving with the Left and Right Game. For a huge family of more than forty, exchange gift giving needed a little spicing up. One Christmas years ago, we were all asked to bring one gift of a certain budget with a chosen theme. I think that time it was “pantry”. With our gifts in tow (there were a few with a sack of rice) or on hand (a money envelope) depending on the size, we were asked to all stand in a big, big circle. Then, my aunt hands me a paper and asks me to read aloud a story with words “left” and “right”. Yes, every time the words “left” and “right” are said, the gifts move as such until the end of the story. So much laughter and tears come from this tradition that’s why I love it. It’s always fun to see everyone’s reaction as each gift passes or lands on them. The facial expressions are priceless and the bonding even more.

Although these traditions may not be exactly unique but they’re special to me because of the memories they make – memories to keep, memories to treasure forever.

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