“BEING a mom keeps me busy as I’m very hands on and at the same time, I enjoy spending time with my little boy, India. My five-year old keeps me entertained for sure,” said 41-year-old Nikki Serrano-Honasan.
Her yoga practice keeps her occupied as well. She starts each day on the mat, whether it’s ten minutes or two hours. Yoga & meditation keep her anchored wherever she is. This sets the tone & energy of the day as she goes about her mommy & teacher duties.
With Christmas around the corner, Holiday decorating and gift shopping adds up to the must-do list.
“Growing up my siblings and cousins would all spend it in our lola’s house in the province, gathered around the table for Noche Buena followed by the much awaited part of the evening, the gift giving. Now living in Boracay with a small family of my own, I find myself carrying this tradition with me while sharing it with her island family. We have Noche Buena and open gifts together.” shared Nikki.
As for decorating, Nikki’s home is quite open to the outdoors that she finds a little is all it needs. She has all these individual Christmas trees, handmade wooden & metallic ones, which she’s very fond of. She starts placing them around the house in the beginning of December.
Shopping can be a challenge when you live in an island and little access to shopping areas. So when does she make her Christmas list and shop for gifts? She said when inspiration hits her. It could be as early as September or as late as December.
“I have family, friends on the island, plus my travel buddies who happen to be my closest friends from college on my gift list. I like giving them handmade gifts, as well as personally curated presents like a picnic basket with all the essentials included, from food to a picnic blanket.”
Having a theme helps her narrow everything down. She believes one can never go wrong with a “food showcase”. Food is the wisest gift to give. It’s practical and leaves zero waste. But she makes sure it fits the recipient’s preference.
“I shop at Marks & Spencer for clothes, but I never forget to stop by the food section to pick up my favorite bites and hunt for new wines to taste. During the holiday season, this is where I go to select food and wine items to give as gifts. More often, they have my themed choices in a Christmas hamper.”
Here are five of Nikki’s Christmas shopping tips:
1. Keep it personal. Remembering random tidbits about the person & incorporating that in your gift adds a special touch. A coffee person will always love everything about coffee, chocolates for chocolate lovers, to mention a couple. M&S has Coffee Lovers’ Surprise, Chocolate Indulgence and Tea-Time Treats even a breakfast-themed Sunrise Bliss packed for you.
2. Instead of buying Christmas wrappers & bags, use what you already have at home & get creative! Or choose food presents in decorative hampers. They will find a use for a nice hamper. The M&S gold basket this year is quite elegant.
3. Whenever you can, support local makers & artisans. They make some of the most unique gifts. I wrap my food hampers with inabel blankets, which can also give the present an element of surprise. This way they get to enjoy two gifts, both they can take to a picnic.
4. Hit the bookstore ~ cookbooks and other books make great presents. Example, I incorporate a cookbook with an Italian selection. Pointers on new ways to cook pasta will always excite any home chef. Plus, the red wine is always great company while cooking and dining.
5. Sometimes the best gifts aren’t material things, but experiences. Tickets to the museum, a yoga class, or a macramè workshop are sure to be appreciated. Shopping is an experience too, if not an art. Besides everybody needs retail therapy. A gift card from their favorite store can always excite, and if it’s from M&S, they get to choose their preferred apparel or fill their basket with the Christmas foodstuff they want to indulge on.
Fashion & food: M&S Collection and Christmas hampers are available at the Marks & Spencer stores in Abreeza Mall & SM Lanang Premier
Photography: Wizbren Ang
Make-up & Styling: Otoy Mercado
Location: M&S store & T’nalak Home at Abreeza Mall