IT IS said that Filipinos began decorating their homes with Christmas trees in the early 1900s, as influenced by our American colonizers. Earlier, however, Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, introduced and brought the idea about the Christmas tree in his letter to his eldest sister when he was in Berlin in November 1886. He simply described how Christmas is celebrated in Germany and Spain, and how a forest pine tree decorated with glitter, lights, candies and fruit is placed inside the house where everyone celebrates Christmas around it.
Since that time, the Christmas tree has found its place in many Filipino homes. Beyond the display and the ornaments, it has conveyed a message of love, unity, and joy in every member of the family.
The iconic Christmas tree has also found its way as a creative centerpiece in SM's malls with artistic renditions in modern and traditional themes. Some like the Christmas in Bloom at SM Aura Premier, and the Southacular Carnival Christmas at SM Southmall, highlight blooms and fair images, respectively, instead of ornaments.
Others highlight the work of artisans in the regions -- the lantern makers of Pampanga in SM City Clark's Parul Kapampangan and indigenous fabrics from local communities -- hablon, jusi, piña, abaca, and rattan -- at SM City Iloilo.
More than just beautiful centerpieces, these have become symbols of hope, love, and joy during these most challenging times. These have become focal points where we can reconnect with our traditional celebrations, and join the Filipino community in hoping for safer, brighter, and merrier times. (PR)