Taking Gifting to the Next Level

Being a "lovechild" of two people I only know by name has never made me feel like there's anything missing in my life at all. Aside from the nine months I've stayed inside her belly, my biological mother and I haven't really spent enough time with each other to actually build a "mother and daughter relationship". The last time I saw my father was when I looked at my birth certificate and shrugged "I don't even know who this person is."

All of us (me and my parents) have separate lives now. We're basically strangers who know little [to nothing at all] about each other. And that's what makes it so ironic that I love Christmas so much and why I'm always so excited for it.

More than the gifts, food, and merrymaking, Christmas is about family. And even if mine isn't like everybody else's, I know God didn't put me in this set-up to make me feel like I don't have anything at all.  Instead, He put me here so He can bless me in so many other ways regardless of what or how much is actually missing in the picture.

Holidays in Isabela, 199X
If anything, He made me realize that "family" isn't strictly defined by just having a mother and father and brothers and sisters - that "family" is simply the people who love you unconditionally, the people who care about you, the people who support you in everything you do, and are proud of you for every little goal you reach and every little dream of yours that's come true.

What is your Christmas wish list for yourself?

I'm not the type of person to splurge on my own Christmas wishlist.  Not that I deprive myself though, I'm just not that materialistic. If I fail to buy something I want, expect me to get over it overnight. In fact, the last time I bought myself an expensive gift was in December 2012 when I got myself the 5th gen iPod in red, which is now broken btw. I don't even remember what I got for myself the next 2 Christmases after that!

So I guess it wouldn't be so bad to wish for a couple of material things for myself this Christmas, right? Besides, I have been so good this year so here is a list of things I think I deserve this year:

1. Stove-top grill - in case I finally learn how to cook
2. Toy for my cats - because I'm their mother and their happiness is my happiness so I will be their Santa this Christmas and I want to get them a toy that isn't just a box or plastic bag or a bottle cap lol
3. A duvet - because I have been spoiling myself with so much sleep since the day I escaped the night shift life and I want to spoil myself more!
4. Asus Zenfone Selfie - because my iPod is broken and I miss taking selfies and I tried this phone at the mall once and I looked super cute in the sample selfie so I NEED IT
5. Adidas Superstar sneakers - because Dara has it and maybe, just maybe, we'll look alike if I have it too
6. More succulents - I got my first three from Antipolo last weekend and I want more!

See? I don't ask for much!

What are your Christmas gift ideas for your loved ones this year?

My cousins and I have been giving each other gifts on Christmas since we were kids when all we could afford with our allowance and small savings were cheap and funny gifts like "chichirya" (snacks) that we bought from our grandmother's store, novelty items from the palengke (market), and even toiletries such as toothpaste and toothbrush for that one cousin who rarely brushes his teeth!

We have kept that tradition until now that four (out of 7) of us are done with school and already have jobs! So this year, I want to remind them of how proud I am that the kids I have spent my entire childhood with have grown into smart and responsible adults and teenagers even when I haven't really been the best role model for all of them. Hehe

Christmas with cousins in the 90's (the youngest two weren't born yet)
Cute and quirky home decor for my cousin Ida (2) who just moved in to her own house just a few months ago. She is an engineer and is super badass at her job but her home is filled with funny things like Minions figures and robot/giraffe-printed bedsheets and curtains!

Make-up and other girly stuff for my cousin Jamille (3) who is the prettiest of us all but is the resident "good girl" who also happens to be NBSB! I wish I could get her a magical milkshake though, something that'll bring boys to the yard! Haha!

A nice polo or shirt for my cousin Jullien (4) because he has grown into a handsome and hardworking young man who always looks good in anything he wears!

An artsy tote bag for my cousin Jillene (5) who is now in college and is taking up Multimedia Arts! She hasn't even finished school yet but she's already doing so good at her craft!

Cute earphones for my cousin Jocelle (not in the photo) who loves music and is a member of the Glee club in her school!

Socks and other basketball stuff for our youngest cousin Casey (not in the photo) who's so into the sport and is also a varsity player in his school!

I haven't decided on what to give the oldies yet (Nanay, Tanene, Lola, and other titos and titas) but I'm thinking of getting them something personalized that'll always remind them it was a gift from me!

For my boyfriend & No.1 fan, I might also get him a cool shirt because he likes dressing up (like me!) or probably a watch that'll go with his pa-hipster #OOTDs!

How do you plan to give back to others this Christmas?

I have only been to an orphanage once for an event I had to cover when I was still working as a PR writer. That was way back in 2007 but I have never forgotten about that experience even after all these years. So this year, I would really love to visit an orphanage again and bring gifts and food to the kids there and remind them that not having parents shouldn't make them feel left out on Christmas.

BUT Aside from giving them material things for gifts, I would also like to just sit down and tell them stories and share a few life hacks to them as well, something like "How To Deal With Not Having Parents And Be An Awesome Orphan Anyway" in short, these 5 important life lessons:

Not having a mom and a dad around while growing up can be really tough but it's not enough reason for anyone to stop reaching for their dreams  - or stop dreaming at all. As Lupita Nyong'o once said,

"No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."

Not having a "normal" family shouldn't be considered a hindrance for someone to be the best version of him/herself. Anyone can grow with good manners as long as they choose to always do the right thing and follow the right people.

Being an orphan or growing up in a broken family shouldn't be used as an excuse to be a bad person or as something to blame for mistakes and wrong decisions. I would like to tell these kids that not having parents around doesn't give them the free pass to ditch school and do stupid things like drugs and just get away with it because "they don't have parents". I want them to know as early as now that we own our lives and we are the only ones responsible for how it's going to turn out. Whether you have a mom and dad or not, at the end of the day, having a better life is a choice that only you can make for yourself.

Living a life of hatred is depriving yourself of happiness and peace of mind. Some parents fail at being parents. So even if they did a crappy job at being parents, kids shouldn't spend their entire lives hating their parents for not being good enough to raise their children, They are humans too, making mistakes, just like all of us. After all, we still owe them our lives. I wouldn't have been here right now if it weren't for them. They know I'm doing great and I wish them well, too.

It's okay to be sad about it. It's okay to be sad that no one tells you the story of the day you were born, what you were like on the first minutes of your life on Earth, if you cried really loud or if you were such a behaved newborn baby. It's okay to be sad about not being a spoiled "daddy's girl" because you don't have a daddy to begin with, that boys are not scared to break your heart because no one's going to break their bones if they did. But like I said, all these things shouldn't stop anyone from being the best of what they can be. In fact, they are big things to overcome and once you do, you'll never feel incomplete at all and ever again!

So those are the lessons I would like to share to these orphaned kids. I'm not saying they should look up to me though, I just want to be able to give more than just material things. I want to give the gift of inspiration to these kids who, just like me, didn't get a chance to grow up in a normal family setting. I want to be the big sister who tells them the truth about our not-so-normal lives but encourage them to be good people anyway - no matter how cruel the word can be sometimes. Hopefully, these important lessons would turn into something they will always remember - something that will guide them through the years.

I have also found another great way to give back this Christmas and that is by joining campaigns like the SM Cares Bears of Joy campaign! By simply shopping at SM supermalls, we can actually take part in the season of “gift-ing" and share our blessings to orphanages and other charitable institutions in the country! Now that's definitely something I'm excited to do this year!

And what makes it even more exciting? Our favorite supermall being all geared up for the holidays with this year's Merry SM Christmas campaign!

For more updates about this year’s “Merry SM Christmas” campaign, visit SM’s official Christmas microsite (https://www.smsupermalls.com/merrysmchristmas2015) and follow its official social media accounts at Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/smsupermalls), Twitter (https://twitter.com/smsupermalls), and Instagram (https://instagram.com/smsupermalls/); and get an insider access to all the fun happenings at SM Supermalls nationwide through Viber (http://chats.viber.com/SMsupermalls). Shoppers can actively share their holiday merriments inside the SM Supermalls by posting their photos on social media and adding the hashtag #MerrySMChristmas2015.


  1. I love your optimistic views on Family, knowing that in our culture, it's extremely difficult to just shrug off not having a 'normal' family. I'm thinking of joining this too kaso nanghina na ako sa entry mo. Haha

    Ochi | Ochi In The City

  2. This is so inspiring Dominique :) I hope your story can reach orphans to give them hope and inspire them as well. (And if ever you do find that magical milkshake for your cousin Jamille, pls let me know hehehe)


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