Christmas in the last couple of years seemed to have lost its “magic.” Aside from the pandemic, young people seemed to have “moved on” from Christmas eve countdowns, singing along with Christmas carols sang in malls or at home, or worse, opening wide the palm of their hands ready to receive the “Aguinaldos” (usually a monetary gift) from their titos and titas.

The Philippines is considered the country with the longest Christmas season in the world. How did most of us lose its meaning?

Fortunately, there are the likes of Arturo S. Kimpan, who carry on the spirit of Christmas in the midst of challenges.

Where Arturo goes, Christmas cheer follows. How?

Arturo recently caught the attention of Guadalupe citizens by dressing up as Santa Claus while roaming around the streets to sell his “taho.” Taho is a well-loved Filipino merienda that is made of soft tofu, blended with caramelized sugar and sago pearls.

One can easily identify a taho vendor when you spot someone carrying two buckets of aluminum buckets on their shoulders. For Arturo though, you’ll easily spot him in a sea of the crowd for his eye-catching Santa Claus costume.

“I want my customers to be happy so that they can feel that their purchase was worth it,” explained Arturo in the vernacular.

Surviving in this economy is already hard enough, especially when your everyday priority is to bring food on the table for your family. This proves that not everyone can do what Arturo does.

According to the 22-year-old taho vendor, he makes approximately P500 a day while wandering the streets of Guadalupe in sweltering heat.

“I sell taho at the Guadalupe Elementary School from Monday to Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, I do house-to-house,” said Arturo.

Arturo said his costume had been ready since last year, but super typhoon Odette prevented him from wearing it.

“I stopped selling taho temporarily because there was no electricity that time.” Before the pandemic, he said he used to sell two batches of taho. Now, he only sells one.

“I wake up at 4:30 a.m to prepare and I arrive in Guadalupe at 6:30 a.m or 7 a.m.,” explained the taho vendor of seven years. He typically gets home about noon, depending if the taho sells out early or not. Arturo’s wish for this Christmas is to spend the holidays with his parents who are currently staying in their province.

Santa Claus and taho vendors both play a similar role of spreading happiness. However, unlike Santa, a taho vendor actually shows up and truly brings happiness to people’s doorsteps.

Two weeks from now, the world will be celebrating the nativity of Jesus, which is the central point of “Paskong Pilipino.” May all of us be reminded of the genuine meaning of the spirit of giving after witnessing Arturo’s personal way of rekindling the magic of Christmas.