What Happened on Christmas Day


My Christmas 2023 Story



As a Filipino, Christmas is always a significant holiday.

From 2015 to 2018, I always returned home to celebrate Christmas with my family. I mostly did my homecoming unannounced to my brood as I knew my mother would tidy the entire house squeaky clean, which seemed like overhauling it.


I didn't earn much money back then but couldn't care less about money, as my focus was hanging out with them.


2019 was not worth celebrating as we were all mourning.

2020 to early July 2022 gave me no alternative to going home as COVID-19 was jeopardizing globally.  


October 2022 and September 2023, homecoming happened differently as we were mourning for a family member's passing. Though gathering with relatives was a great event, the spirit of festivity was absent. 


2023 was the year I slowly felt hope to move forward a bit. Though I could meet them this year, meeting them during Christmas would be more meaningful—a personal hope.


So, I celebrated Christmas in Japan for the fourth time. I supposed it was going to be a mundane day. As you know, Christmas in Japan is more for lovers, KFC Day, and bargain sales in shopping malls.


For some reason, my 2023 Christmas is more joyous than any other Christmases I had here. 

I received gifts and smiles from special people I built good relationships with. 


For the first time, I received Christmas cards, greetings, and presents, both physically and online, from my pre-schoolers and school-aged students. Here are some.


One student gave me a handwritten Christmas card as well. The effort is priceless. 






One of my students gave me a nurse key chain because she knows I am a nurse. Remembering that part and minute detail of my life means a lot to me. 






Along with that is a Christmas card her mom also wrote on.






Lastly, they gave me a bag of snacks that I liked too.






Also, some of my good friends from Osaka, whom I met around 2016 to 2018 since I used to work there, sent me these lavish gifts. I am marveled and grateful for it. I can't believe we continue this friendship even though I live far from them now. 

This is from Rose-san.






This one hear is from Yoshi-san, whom I bought my road bike, too.






And for our other students who continue to support and learn with us, we are more than grateful to have you. 

It is an incalculable Christmas gift for us.



I used to think Christmas was a time for family, gift-giving, festive food, and a breather, which will be permanently a never-ending tradition. However, one thing has been added: Christmas is about me.


  • Have I been living my life well the way I want it? 
  • Have I continued to do righteous deeds
  • Have I learned from my mistakes and taken into account some parts of me I need to improve or remove?



So, I decided with conviction that I would spend Christmas how I wanted. A genuine representation of me. So, here's what happened on Christmas Eve.


After all the morning lessons, I visited one of my favorite churches - Yokohama Sacred Heart Cathedral, known as Yamate Catholic Church.







I took a photo of the Nativity Scene or Belen near the altar, said my prayer, and stayed for a while, feeling the sunrays passing through the beautiful stained glass.









Next, I went to IKEA in Yokohama to try the limited-special Christmas menu. 


I grabbed the Beef Red Wine Stew, a limited drink, and a Christmas cake placed in a small glass. Oh, goodness, it melted nicely. 






I was preparing myself to be teary-eyed while eating at IKEA's Food Hall because I was sure to think about my family, but surprisingly, I felt calm, probably because the crowd and the ambiance were relaxing—a no-pressure celebration.



So, while heading home, I pondered what Christmas is for me.



Christmas is about love, hope, and joy

So, may it be a Christmas season or not, I want to have these in me daily - to love myself justly, to strongly give myself hope for every failure and challenge I may go through, and to provide simple joy to myself, tangible or intangible, even when no one else offers.



We all have our definition of Christmas, and there is no right or wrong. I am convinced those definitions were drawn from personal experiences and our circumstances


I hope you had a Merry Christmas. Cheers to this!