The year of 2020 has been a rollercoaster across the globe. Listen, in a seemingly “normal” year, we all have our ups and downs, but in recent world history, the pandemic along with movements rising up throughout our Nation and across the world for justice, equity and human rights, for many of us this is a turning point in history. As the holidays approach, it feels like anything but normal, and many of us are wondering how can we keep traditions alive or create new ones? Enter a bit of heartwarming inspiration through a new three-minute animated short Disney Christmas ad as part of its holiday campaign, “From Our Family to Yours.” Shoutout to my baby bro for sharing this with me first!
From Our Family to Yours
The newly released Disney Christmas ad #fromourfamilytoyours follows a story of family traditions, specifically that of a young Filipina and her “Lola” which translates to “grandmother” in Filipino. It is a heartwarming advertisement for anyone, but especially for those of us with Filipino heritage (we were hit in the gut in a good way), and I can tell you that I bawled like a baby watching it.
Lola has a prized possession, a Mickey Mouse plush given to her by her Papa. She’s kept it over the years and eventually her granddaughter enjoys playing with it. One of the traditions that is featured as the little girl and her Lola progress in age is making Parols for Christmas.
Filipino Christmas Traditions
Parols are star lanterns, usually made of bamboo sticks and crépe paper. They’re decorated with streamers and lights and hang throughout homes for the season. These are fashioned after the Star of Bethlehem, what the Three Wise Men or Magi followed, to encourage hope and goodwill. Christmas is a huge celebration for those of Filipino heritage. A predominantly Catholic country, the celebration of Jesus’ birth can be seen popping up throughout the islands as early as September! Can you believe that? And people give me grief about decorating on November 1st!
My Lola loved to travel, and aside from the many trips to the Vatican in Rome, she would often enjoy trips to Disneyland with me, my cousins and our families. Celebrating Christmas with all of us was a given, and she decked the halls and cooked like nobody’s business. She made sure we always felt the love and had crisp dollar bills fresh from the bank in our cards. The tradition of course continued when her great grandchildren arrived, my kids!
While we did not grow up making parols with Lola (at least that I can remember), we know her love for Christmas was passed down to my mom & aunties, me and my kiddos! I loved this animation short and inspired me to do some research into our Filipino Christmas traditions. I love learning more about my culture and teaching my kids. We will be creating some parols with our family this year to introduce them to some new traditions.
Make a Wish® Vintage Mickey
Don’t think I forgot about that adorable plush featured in the Disney Christmas ad. Did you know that you can purchase that for your family? And he has a parol on the bottom of his foot! I love the idea of having a vintage-style plush from Disney to commemorate Make-A-Wish® Foundation’s 40th year of partnership with The Walt Disney Company. This is a sweet item to purchase and support the magic they give to families. 25% of the proceeds from this adorable plush are donated to Make-A-Wish® Foundation. You can visit wish.org for more information on the plush!
I’m hoping to document our time this holiday season creating new traditions. We will also continue with traditions that we’ve enjoyed for years, like peppermint hot cocoa and watching Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas! It may look a little different, but us being together is always the best part!