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.

3 SM Southmall’s Southtacular Carnival Christmas features a 34-foot tree, life size bears, and a gigantic Ferris wheel! Carnival snacks like cotton candy and popcorn, and a myriad of colorful neon lights celebrate the spirit of the season.

 

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.

6 SM City Clark’s Parul Kapampangan centerpiece is a tribute to Pampanga’s lantern making industry. The dazzling 45- foot tree with 1,680 bulbs and spinning lights is proudly designed and assembled by Kapampangan parol makers.

 

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.

8 SM City Baguio’s Winter Wonderland spectacle features a 35-foot tree with snow-capped pine cones, sparkling snowflakes, and glimmering garlands surrounded by adorable polar bears. Built by the artistry of local craftsmen, it celebrates Baguio as the cradle of creative culture and traditions.

 

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.

4 Inspired by the beautiful heritage houses around the city, SM City Iloilo’s 40-foot tree is born out of love for everything Ilonggo. The indigenous fabric from local communities – hablon, jusi, piña, abaca, and rattan are wrapped around this regal centerpiece, a symbol of the city’s solid foundation rooted on its rich history and noble tradition.

 

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.

 

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