Methodist in the Media

Christmas Memories Bridge the Distance

Published: Dec. 27, 2022

When you’ve left home and are living in a new country, the holidays can bring lots of memories of past celebrations.

Elean Hankins grew up in the Philippines in the city of Manila. She came to the U.S. in 1996. She’s been working as a physical therapist at Dunklau Gardens since 2014.

Hankins has special memories of celebrating Christmas with her family.

“We would start celebrating Christmas on Dec. 16. My mom would have us go to midnight Mass every night up to Christmas Eve. Afterward there would be a small family gathering with hot chocolate and rice cakes,” she said.

When she was little, Hankins and her brother and sister would sing carols for the neighbors.

Maria Christy Meyer is a certified nursing assistant at Dunklau. She grew up in Mindanao, Philippines and has been in the U.S. since 2006.

“Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration,” she said. “We attend midnight Mass for nine days, from 3 to 5 a.m. We learned this tradition from Mexican missionaries.”

Meyer said Filipinos love to decorate everywhere this time of year, and being at school during Christmas was a lot of fun.

Fremont Tribune: Christmas Memories Bridge the Distance