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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: Our anik-aniks during the holiday season

4 min readWhere else can Filipinos showcase their innate love for anik-anik and decorations than on Christmas itself? So here’s a short and sweet list of anik-anik decorations that blossom during the winter-esque and stellar nights of December.
Profile picture of Francesca Maria Dela Cruz

Published 7 months ago on December 24, 2023

by Francesca Maria Dela Cruz

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Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb

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They say hope is a dangerous thing to have nowadays, but Christmas, without a doubt, just rekindles it each time.

The sparkles of December charm us with none other than the decorations we fashion our houses with. It’s the bright-colored parols, uniformed Santa hats, and, of course, the endless themes of Christmas trees that seem more magical (writing this as I dream of a pink winter wonderland theme) each Christmas they come.

These ornaments just get more grandiose and lovely in their own little ways, and this is a testament to Filipinos' (especially our Gen-Z friends) fondness for anik-anik. From Sonny Angels attached to our tote bags to ceramic cherubs from your mom’s mini altar, the correlation is far too cute and endearing not to notice!

Thus, where else can Filipinos showcase their innate love for anik-anik and decorations than on Christmas itself? So here’s a short and sweet list of anik-anik decorations that blossom during the winter-esque and stellar nights of December.

1. Christmas trees

Gilmore Girls (2000)

Gilmore Girls (2000)

Filipinos don’t take this time of the year lightly, with just a few wreaths at each door and mango sago servings for visiting families. This evident identity always comes out during the holidays, best represented by our Christmas trees.

The origins of Christmas trees got entangled with many legendary stories, most anchored in catholic scriptures. However, its actual origin came during the Middle Ages in Germany. The first Christmas tree was located in Strasbourg, Alsace.

I remember when I was a kid, the house was always filled with playful banter on what theme the Christmas tree would take form in. My mother was adamant about not making it candy-themed, which I always pout at. She, too, loved the classy red and gold Christmas balls and moderately sized star on top, and it branded our whole home entirely as a warm, glitz and glam type of tree. What about you? Is your tree candy-caned themed? Snow-themed, or perhaps Miffy-themed? The list goes on!

2. Parols

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

On my ride home from Manila in December, I am always greeted by parols twinkling in various colors of lights on the side of the roads, whether on the city streets or in the quiet neighborhood. With its intricate parts weaved delicately to its precise angles, Filipino parols are undoubtedly a pride of the country.

Symbolized as the triumph of hope in the darkness, it is made of bamboo, Japanese paper, and candles to illuminate it from within. We might have been adequately introduced to parols in our elementary school days, where it’s usually the school-wide project of students as soon as December hits (some even early because it’s usually a competition of which classroom’s the “best decorated”).

Attributed to Francisco Estanislao of Pampanga, who designed the star-shaped ornament in 1908, parols have now taken modern takes by using LED lights instead of candles and even crafting them with capiz materials, an authentic Filipino design.

3. Miniature Christmas Village

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

Christmas will not be complete without a shopping spree in Dapitan Arcade. The detail-oriented ninongs and ninangs will always scatter around the Christmas villages placed either under the Christmas tree or on the living room table, and it is always a delight to get engrossed in the little lives within. Gingerbread houses can also be considered a part of this ensemble (except you can eat it).

Its origin dates back to post-World War II when the Japanese mass-produced paper houses and dolls but a tale of lovers. Husband Koziar and wife Grace also popularized the Christmas village when Koziar began decorating his “Spring Lake Dairy Farm”, which began as a display show solely for the pleasure of his wife and their four children in 1948. It eventually became a neighborhood sensation, and history was made.

Akin to Sylvanian family toys, these mini ornate embellishments come with stories: little streets, its own glistening Christmas trees, lit cathedrals, nutcrackers, and even carousels flickered with snow, the sweet wintery village gives an ode to the architect in us!

4. Snowglobes

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

There’s something so romantic about getting lost staring at how the snow falls so dreamily slow in a snow globe. Maybe it’s a universal experience to wonder what the view from the inside would be. Still, however whimsical and dreamy it gets, the snowglobes actually first emerged as a make-shift surgical light invented by Erwin Percy I.

To this day, snowglobes are a dazzle to come across, and it’s usually sentimental memorabilia of long generations of families. So, when you come across one at a family gathering or even at an office, it’s probably decades worth of filial hand-me-down tradition meant to represent pureness.

5. Santa hats and pajamas

Photo from Mean Girls (2004)

Photo from Mean Girls (2004)

Lastly, even we dress as ornaments! We put on our Santa hats or reindeer headbands and march to the rhythm of Christmas carols like jingle bell rock and giggle at the wishlists and guessing of code names. Families love to showcase that they’re one cohesive string, and dress codes are the instant go-to!

Whenever I see one, it’s a guaranteed feeling of festivity—ready for a cozy hot cocoa session, with Home Alone and Jingle All The Way filling the room with unstoppable laughter, and the morning after will have the dining table seemingly the same as before, leftovers from last night’s noche buena still as fresh and filling as ever.

Photo from Friends (1994)

Photo from Friends (1994)

This Christmas, hope might feel elusive, faint, and lacking in flavor. Yet, sharing laughter with friends from dusk till dawn while adorning our spaces with charming Christmas symbols might reignite that wide-eyed wonder within us. Whether decorating our rooms with Sonny Angels and Sanrio figurines or the cozy addition of snowglobes, wreaths, and festive villages crafted from ceramic and gingerbread, let these adornments keep the essence of Christmas alive in our hearts.

Christmas

Anik-Anik Culture

Decors

Gifts

Filipino Culture

Profile picture of Francesca Maria Dela Cruz

Francesca Maria Dela Cruz

Blogs Writer

Francesca Maria Dela Cruz is a Blogs Writer at TomasinoWeb. As your local girly-girl, she’s a writer who delights in topics that touch the heart—whether it's on identity, beauty or love, her emotions are the ink to her whims. She also adores anything vintage; so sending a message about thrifting milkmaid tops, finding rococo-style decorations or even deep-diving about female figures, then she’ll probably think you’re cupid. If she doesn't reply, she’s most likely sleeping and cuddling her bunny, Georgie. Give her a little leeway because she’s the type to write her messages on her notes app first.

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