For these ladies, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” it’s long been past that point. Here’s a society round-up of trees and baubles, and how to get into the spirit of things.
While Cris Albert knows that Christmas is a tradition with family and a symbol of Christ’s birth, this year she dared to break some design rules by adding pink to the usual colors. After all, rules are meant to be broken. “My tone scheme reflects love and friendship. It looks super festive,” she says.
According to her most of the décor has been with her for a decade. “I buy from different sources and countries. I recycle to create a distinct look that changes yearly.”
“The color theme for Christmas 2021 is all about joyful brights,” says Cat Arambulo-Antonio. “My kids wanted this year to be extra festive since we weren’t able to celebrate the holidays last year.” They were inspired to go back to basics with Christmas originals: Santa, snowmen, and colors like red and green.
The tree is from Rustan’s. The decorations are a loveable mishmash of collected things: “Some were sourced locally, others were purchased during our travels but a lot of it has been accumulated over time or hand me downs from my mom,” she says
The Christmas tree in Vicki Belo’s home is very famous. Annually designed by Stephen Brown of Glitterville Studios, Brown and his team would make the trek to the Philippines to put up the tree for the Belo-Kho family. Due to travel and shipping restrictions over the last two years, Glitterville have not made it back.
But the show must go on and COVID-19 will not stop the family from enjoying their beautiful tree. Here is an old video of the team putting up the tree in 2019, the last time they were in Manila.
According to Julie Jalandoni-Boschi, her family decided to have a simpler Christmas this year. “[We are] seeking a more meaningful season this year. It is a season for giving, we have less room for Christmas gifts under the tree because we do not need much for ourselves, more for others,” she says.
Instead of a massive, fresh tree, she went for twin trees that are easily put up and put down. The rest of her home has Christmas-themed topiaries in large planters.
Jalandoni-Boschi did a home cull, and the Christmas decorations did not escape the purging frenzy. She says that no purchases were made this year, and instead, she relied on her “oldies, but goodies.”
These items include furry white owls from Rustan’s, glittery flowers, and beautiful angels bought locally and abroad.
“I have some pinecones that we collected near our aunt’s home in Italy, which my husband thought I was crazy to have shipped home,” she says, “along with tiny capiz lanterns and raffia angels.” Jalandoni-Boschi’s favorites this year are heavy metal crowns, some with sprouted angel’s wings that she purchased years ago from a local store once owned by Ivy and Cynthia Almario.
Karen Davila wanted a white, silver & gold tree because “It lights up a room!” For inspiration, she looked for examples on Pinterest and went to Landmark. “Most of the ornaments on my tree are from Landmark. They’re very reasonably priced.”
When asked, her favorite part is the white poinsettias and the silver-gold stems because they add an accent. “The abaca parol is a gift from a friend – a perfect star on the tree!”
Ever since her marriage, Kai Lim has been collecting ornaments. “I’ve changed my Christmas tree several times but never the ornaments. I just add or edit.” The baubles have always been glass ornaments with silver accents.
The pieces were bought from trips abroad or as gifts from family and friends. Each piece is memorable to her. “This year, I decided to add a bit of red. I got red glass balls from a recent trip to Madrid,” says Lim. At the bottom of the tree are her kids’ Christmas stockings.
Tessa Prieto-Valdes has 10 Christmas trees. You heard that right—10. “I was inspired by #supportlocal and the funnier side of Philippine elections and politics.”
For her baubles, she buys from Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation. “This is an advocacy I support,” she says. “They do a lot of livelihood projects.”
This year, Pinky Tobiano was inspired by Antarctica. “My children and I are planning a trip to Antarctica and I added festive polar bears in the tree with gold pockets as a symbol of wealth and abundance. She added in a twist of festive red and gold.
Tobiano usually purchases her décor from mainstays like Rustan’s, West Elm, and Pottery Barn. For a local touch, she buys from the Quiapo underpass. “I love to mix local materials with enamels, ceramics, and bright things.”