Like all families in the Philippines, which is said to have the longest Christmas celebration in the world, the Aquinos have their own special way of celebrating Christmas.
“It’s our Christmas tradition to have Mass together on Christmas Eve,” says Kris, the youngest daughter of icons of democracy Ninoy and Cory Aquino, and a celebrity in her own right, who is considered the Queen of all Media. “When Mom was alive, it was at Times Street and Father Arevalo would be the one to say Mass. That was our family’s Christmas celebration until she passed away.”
Since 2010, however, the Aquinos – Kris, sisters Ballsy, Pinky, and Viel and brother Noy and their families – have been having their get together at Bahay Pangarap. That’s, of course, because her brother Benigno Simeon Aquino III is the President of the Philippines. “It’s a time for family,” says Kris, who is the face of the I Love Christmas Shopping at SM campaign. “It’s Mass, dinner, gift giving, then others go to their in-laws.”
She adds that every year since 2010, she has had an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival. Premiere nights, however, are usually held on December 24 and she usually has to rush to the family dinner. But “God is good, they adjust the time to wait for me to arrive.” Now that she has her own family, she and her kids have their own tradition – traveling after the MMFF awards night. In 2010, they spent the holidays in Singapore; in 2011-2012, it was New York; 2012-2013 in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.”
This year, “the awards night is on December 27, so we plan to leave on the 28th. It will be hopefully London this time, but if my sisters have their way, it will be Japan so we will all be together. But the kids want London, so we’ll see.” Here, Kris shares with us her thoughts on the joys of Christmas, gift giving, and why she loves holiday shopping at SM. It reveals a side of her rarely seen – her love of family, her incredible sense of organization, her generosity.
Kris Aquino “I Love Christmas Shopping at The SM Store TVC
Gift giving is an essential part of Christmas. How do you prepare for this? What gifts to do like to give?
“Christmas is a time when you can show the people important to you what they mean to you.All my pamangkins have grown so they appreciate cash or GCs. I have been giving SM GC’s for many years because you can use it in the SM Store, and SM Supermarket. They are happy they can use it in so many stores. It’s a joy to receive SM Gift Certificates. I also like to give them gadgets.” For my inaanaks, it’s also gadgets and GCs. For my friends who are rather wealthy, I donate in their name. I have a special card designed where I tell them I gave to a charity in their name.For those who work in my shows and movies, I give gift certificates talaga. Last year, I also brought 8 chosen staff to a trip to Korea – 5 from Kris TV and 3 from my teleserye. Those memories will really last.I also prepare Christmas baskets for the friends of Bim and Kuya Josh. These have candies, little toys, and are beautifully packaged.For teachers, coaches, trainers, banks, I prepare a beautiful basket of my favorite products, much alike a supermarket and bathroom collection.”
What about your kids?
“With the kids, I’m so guilty of the fact that every week is Christmas. I am lucky that they are very kind and happy for everything they have. Bimby nags me to ‘save your money, Mama.’ Kuya Josh always asks for money to give to everybody because it is his joy to share – from the drivers, the PSGs, the yayas, those in school. He is super happy when he does that.”
Do you think that sharing with the less fortunate is an essential part of Christmas? How do you do this?
“Yes, of course. Because of Kris TV, Kim Chiu and I learned that gift giving is really for kids. We like less fortunate kids to be happy, and work on this.We are also preparing lots of Noche Buena packs with Ryza. We hope that these will reach many people. I’ll also course some through Red Cross for those in evacuation centers.I feel that we are comfortable all year round, so it’s really our turn to do our share to make others happy for Christmas.”
What do you like most about shopping at SM?
“I liked the styling in the ads, and I’ve been wearing their accessories non-stop. I also like the blouses, which are delightfully on P800-900, but super pretty. I’m so proud of that.I also like buying gift certificates in bulk for gifts. These are gifts that will be appreciated as you can buy from many stores with these.”
Please share with us your thoughts on Christmas and SM.
“It’s not hard to endorse SM as it such a part of Philippine culture. The only difference for me is that there is an expectation that everything I am wearing is imported an expensive. That’s our goal with Liz (Uy) that every time I say thank you to SM, what I am wearing will elicit a wow because it’s so put together, looks expensive, and yet affordable for everybody. And that’s what I am looking forward to, to make it aspirational yet reachable. I’m proud to be representing SM and to let everybody know it’s really fun to shop. Why is it fun to shop? Because you won’t run out of money, and really get good quality.”