I have never spent Christmas in Manila. Even as a student here, I have always spent it at home, in Davao, with my family. And when Stan and I got married, we would just shuttle between Cebu and Davao. Though we are not around, we always make sure that we prepare a noche buena pack for the people in our condo — the security guards, janitors, gardeners and administration personnel who help maintain our amenities. They do make our lives easier so Christmas is a chance to make them feel special and let them know how thankful we are for their services. This is what we put into the pack:
mini grocery bag

Closer to home, we also prepared a Christmas basket gift for our yayas. Since our yayas are also from Mindanao, they go home during the holidays to spend time with their families. According to my yayas, their families are really happy to open the box of groceries. Since my mom also gives them a Christmas ham, their Noche Buena is complete and they do not have to worry about buying something for their family.

For this year’s basket, I shopped at Cash and Carry supermarket – which I find to be generally cheaper than other stores (tip for all of you!!!). To ship the products, I asked for a small box and used Xend. Xend takes longer – about 3-5 days for provincial delivery but costs about P220 pesos for 5 kilos. The trick is to look for a small box that will fit the contents so you will get charged with the actual weight and not a bigger volume weight (tip number 2!!!). Here was what went into the Christmas gift baskets of our SUPER yayas (and driver):

everything for less than P1,000

There are so many things to be thankful for this year.  I did cut down on my gift list because I opted to channel some of our funds for Yolanda efforts.  However, the gift baskets and packs for people who touch my family’s lives are some of the things that I really save up for during the holidays.  These gift packs really can’t compare to help that they contribute to my family – making our lives more manageable.

Do you give gifts to your helpers, drivers, etc?  What do you prepare for them?

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