My wife once told me that Christmas comes early in the Philippines. She didn’t mean that the date it’s celebrated is any different than any other place, but just that people get into the Christmas spirit earlier than usual.
Where I’m from, the shopping spirit hits a bit early, but that real Christmas spirit doesn’t seem to catch on until at least the day after Thanksgiving. Obviously, there is no Thanksgiving in the Philippines and while Halloween (trick-or-treating) is celebrated in some posh villages, Christmas is something that most every Filipino gets behind quickly and early. I think it’s probably because it’s associated with the birth of Christ, and the Philippines has the highest population of Catholics of any country in the world. It may also have something to do with the poor conditions in the country. I’m sure a lot of families are looking for an excuse to feel cheerful about something.
As early as last week, we’ve been hearing Christmas songs playing on the speaker systems in some of the malls. I even saw Christmas decorations for sale already, including plastic trees.
My wife says the rule of thumb in the Philippines is that if the month ends in “-ber”, then people will start looking forward to Christmas and set up decorations, some of which will remain up until February, if not all year round.