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Check It Out: Christmas Gifts We'd Like to Give |

Check It Out: Christmas Gifts We’d Like to Give
Here is what our family is thinking of giving this Christmas. Image via
Tish Leizens

In the Philippines and elsewhere, buying Christmas gifts can be as stressful as preparing the family holiday gathering. What should I give mom, dad, or hubby? Will he like it or not? What about those toys for the kids? What’s hot?

So, we, at Pinay.comthought we would move the conversation forward and give you ideas on what we are thinking of buying—wishful or not—for our loved ones this Christmas. Take note our editorial team is scattered all over the world so our list of Christmas gifts is diverse. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!

1) Anna Liz Cabrido 2) Anna Maria Villanueva-Lykes 3) Jana Lynne Umipig

Our writers, on left, Anna Liz Cabrido, Anna Maria Villanueva-Lykes and Jana Lynne Umipig.

Anna Liz Cabrido, South Cotabato, Philippines

To my Papa and Mama:  a massage package for two—stone massage for 1 1/2 hours, manicure and pedicure. The massage will rejuvenate their tired muscles.

Ana Maria Villanueva-Lykes, Texas, U.S.

Cooking lessons on Filipino food for me because my husband loves Filipino food, and he thinks he married the only Asian in the world who cannot cook.

Jana Lynne Umipig, New York, U.S.

For my closest girlfriends:  Filipina-inspired and crafted jewelry from independent Pinay artists in our community. Check it out Native Sol products that are inspired by spirituality and culture, I think it expresses your soul. I want to give them pieces I feel reflect what I see in them.

1) Jaycon Yaneza 2) Jennifer Bichara 3) Kristine Roa

Jaycon Yaneza, writer; Jennifer Bichara, publisher’s assistant; and Kristine Roa, social media manager.

Jaycon Yaneza, Manila, Philippines

I would like to gift my dog Maggie and my cat Cheesecake with mighty meaty treats this December. Maggie turns two on December 18, while Cheesecake turned one on December 3. Of course, I wouldn’t leave out my other pet cats Smolina and Louis from the pet party. They will all have a mighty meaty buffet on Christmas and New Year.

Jennifer Bichara, Naga City, Philippines

It will only be me, my brother and sister this Christmas as everybody will be in Manila by then.  I would like to take them out for a nice Christmas lunch at Casa Soriano Family Heirloom Cuisine—a Filipino restaurant in Naga City with recipes handed down through generations of Filipino families and improved upon with complementing influences from Spanish, French and Italian cuisine.

Kristine Roa, Cebu, Philippines

To my family: the gift of time and adventures. Nothing is more meaningful than spending every waking moment with the people who matter most. To my friends: the gift of piso fares! Looking forward to more jet-setting moments with you.

Christmas, Christmas Holiday, Christmas Gift Giving, Gifts, Christmas Traditions, Family, Lifestyle, Traditions, Gift Giving, Christmas Surprises Filipina, Filipinas, New Filipina, Pinay, Pinay 2014, Bagong Pinay, Filipina Women,, Global Pinays, Philippines

Our writers, M.T. Vallarta, Marissa Hartwig and Mona Sabalones Gonzalez.

M.T. Vallarta, California, U.S.

For my significant other, a book from Eastwind Books of Berkeley, an Asian/American book store based in Berkeley, CA.

I love giving the gift of literature, since words have the power to move us in so many different ways, especially if they are words from Asian and Asian/American writers that tell our stories and share our experiences with the world. When I am feeling sad or lonely, I always find that books are the best company, since they have the ability to soothe the soul and provide comfort in a multitude of ways.

Marissa Hartwig, Florida, U.S.

To my husband: a scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef which is his lifelong dream. To my son: a semester in France to further his art studies. Now if I can only make him learn French, hmmm . . .

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez, Manila, Philippines

I would get my family this house. It would be an excuse for us to go to Europe. Knowing my daughter, she’d love to have a house like this. Knowing my husband, he would enjoy income from renting or selling it—whichever would be most practical for us.

1) Myla Lopez 2) Olive  Melaya Strohman 3) Shayne Navarro

Our writers are Myla Lopez, Olive Melaya Strohman and Shayne Navarro.

Myla Lopez, New Jersey. U.S.

We are giving the youngest in our family her own suitcase.  This atypical “tradition” started with our older daughter who is now 10 years old.  We decided that we would give our daughters their own suitcases for travel when the girls are old enough to ride without car seats.  When the girls were little and we would travel with them overseas, we were always constrained to limiting their baggage to one despite diapers and all as a car seat would count as one bag.  Now, we want them to continue to enjoy traveling and discovering new cultures.  Here’s the fun suitcase she’s getting.

Olive Melaya Strohman, Massachusetts, U.S.

To my husband Steve: a Philippine vacation in 2015. To my son Oliver: a vacation as graduation gift. To my family in the Philippines: enough money to help them. To the organization I belong here, Bayanihan Association of America, love and support to everyone whom we can reach out to. To the world, peace, love and prosperity for all and end to violence among countries.

Shayne Navarro, Dubai, UAE

To the man I am marrying in less than 2 months: the gift of time. I’ve been busy with all the wedding preparations and work lately.  I wanted to give him something so priceless, it can’t be boxed. So, on Christmas day, (and our engagement anniversary) I will be with you, eat a little, laugh a lot  and forget about all the wedding hassle, even just for a while.

1) Perla Daly 2) Tish Leizen

Perla Daly, our publisher and Tish Leizens, our chief editor.

Tish Leizens, Pennsylvania, U.S.

To my husband, who already has the best (that’s me—in case he forgets), a European trip that includes all the places he’s visited when he was a bachelor. The highlight of our trip is a visit to his mom’s hometown in Germany, Regensberg. To see his face light up is priceless.

Perla Paredes Daly, Austin, Texas, U.S.

My husband and I plan to retire in the Philippines someday. So, this year, I am giving my husband a Rosetta Stone online course to learn Tagalog. I’m also getting him a new Bose headset to use when he listens to meditation music. My youngest son is getting clothes, cologne and video games. I like to give gifts to my sons that complement their talents. As my two older sons have creative streaks—like me—and now that they share an apartment, I am getting them a practical gift—their own sewing machine. They alter their own clothes and make practical things like unique stuffed animals. I am also getting them Adobe Creative Cloud. Like me, they use Adobe software for work and to create music, design, videos and animation. And finally, here’s my yearly, traditional, do-it-yourself gift— Christmas jelly cookies.

Raspberry Blizzard Jewel Cookie Recipe from

Our publisher makes her own recipe for Raspberry Blizzard Jewel Cookies. These jelly cookies are light and buttery and look like red gems surrounded by snow.


Tish Leizens

Tish Leizens is a great believer in asking lots of questions. That was how she was trained as a business journalist for newspapers and magazines. That was how she survived trying moments in her personal life and how she navigated a successful career and business in media. In 1997, she asked, “Why not?” And so, she moved from Manila to New York City. It was and continues to be a great adventure. After stints as a reporter for Manila Chronicle and Manila Times; correspondent for The Straits Times and Gulf News; Tish worked as editor for Conde Nast, and later edited and published her own regional magazines, OurHouse and Excursions. OurHouse, sold in bookstores chains in the East Coast, was nationally recognized for its innovative approach to magazine publishing. Tish has lectured at the New York Public Library on how to launch a magazine and other topics related to publishing. She was featured in CNN Money in 2010.

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