Christmas and pine



I recall when we were growing up, my mother put up the same exact Christmas tree every year. Same decor. No theme. And every year, she would add a new ornament – something one of us made or something she bought on Boxing Day the year before. When we were still living in Manila, we had the same artificial tree year after year. I was influenced by this. In our home, we have the same exact tree every year – same balls, same ornaments, no theme, not designed at all.


Me and my brother
The only time we had a different tree was this year. I don’t really know what the story is behind this twig tree. I used to laugh at it. Now I think it’s hip in a Charlie Brown way. I believe that was the year my dad ordered a tree from Clark Air Base; and it didn’t get to us on time. That’s me and my brother.


Telling Santa that she wants Barbie Diamond Castle
Christmas traditions are funny. The only thing we have consistent is our tree at home. When it comes to Santa Claus, it’s always different. We try to meet him – either in a mall or in a hotel. When Sophia was 6 she asked my why Santa’s beard was short. I told her that he had a shave but wanted the kids in the Philippines to see a bearded Santa like in his pictures, so he wore a fake beard. She believed.


Santa liked my baby's cookie
Soph remembers Santa this way from the year before that – with a glorious white beard. I hope he comes visit this season. Does anyone know which hotel or mall Santa with the full beard will be at?


We’ve been using the same artificial tree since we got married. Our ornaments at home don’t change. I bought these tin toys 10 years ago, before Sophia was born. It was our first Christmas as husband and wife. I wanted generic, vintage-type toys. Or maybe I just didn’t know we were going to have 3 three girls.


I love this ornament from my mom. She gave me two of these. I want more. They’re quite delicate, made of glass.


How did you grow up so fast?
Every year, a daughter does this with our old jingling bells wreath. These were in the house before I got here. My mother in law owned them, making them even more special. Soph started it.


A few years later, Lily’s doing it. I’m sure this year Stella will be putting the bell wreath on her head too.


The tree corner becomes one giant mess. Such is life in a small cottage. This was Stella last year.


Christmas wish
I added a new Christmas thingy last year. Dressed up the DAPHNE chairs with lights and a wreath.


Why am I writing about past Christmases? Well, our tree isn’t fully up yet. And I’m so bitin. Over the weekend we put up the tree but we had to stop after hanging the lights because both older kids have exams this week. Most parents in the Philippines know what that’s like. The world stops. I’m squeezing in this blog entry because by tomorrow, I won’t have time to do anything else.

We’ve been feeling Christmassy though, even without the decorated tree. I popped open a few of the new DAPHNE® Home Scents in Green Forest Pine and the house smells so festive! When Bench asked me about coming out with a Christmas scent, I knew it had to be predominantly pine. This is how I know Christmas in my parents’ house. This is what’s been lacking in our tropical home. The smell of Christmas.


daphne forest pine (1)
Limited Edition DAPHNE® Home Scents in Green Forest Pine, 100ml, P348. Available at select Bench and Dimensione stores.


By the way, here’s a list of Bench stores in the Middle East that carry the regular line of DAPHNE Home Scents (acres of lavender, homemade lemon tart and mint jasmine):

Dubai – Reef Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall, IBN Battutta Mall, and Meena Bazaar Mall

Abu Dhabi – Marina Mall and Dalma Mall

Fujairah – Fujairah City Centre Mall



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