Christmas is not only the season of sharing and gift-giving, it’s also a time for family get-togethers. As the whole family gather for a celebration, some of our relatives—titas in particular—go all out with personal questions that maybe only the likes of Boy Abunda are allowed to ask.
And while you’re out there minding your own business, getting your lumpiang shanghai fix and feasting on Noche Buena, there’s always a chance that you’ll bump into your chatty tita and the dreaded small talk will ensue. Nothing feels more like a Pinoy family gathering than a tita asking questions like “May boyfriend/girlfriend ka na ba?”, “Kailan ka ba mag-aasawa?” or “Bakit parang tumaba ka na?”
Undeniably, these questions can be downright annoying, uncomfortable to answer, and inappropriate for the happy occasion. So before things get awkward (and aggressive), here’s a rundown of tips on how titas (or any family member) can do better during the holiday gatherings because we’re done putting up with these unsolicited questions and opinions.
1. Don’t be a regular tita, be a ‘cool tita’
If you want to be known as the “cool tita” whom everyone loves, be the kind of tita who’s actually down for some fun and games during family celebrations. Instead of policing everyone’s activities and talking about how the youth has drastically changed over the years, join in on the fun, let loose and leave the supervision to the parents. Try to enjoy as well and maybe you’ll get to relive the heydays of your youth even for just one day, too.
2. Bring the best food to the potluck party
Whether it’s a bucket of fried chicken, the crowd favorite pansit and lumpiang shanghai, or a simple queso de bola, it’s common courtesy to bring a dish or any food item to the party host especially during the Christmas salu-salo. And wouldn’t it make you feel better if everyone is raving about the food you brought, instead of getting uninvited next year because you keep telling people that they should watch what they eat now that they’ve already gained weight?
3. Provide the biggest prizes for the games
You want to get the “Best Tita” award for the day? Pitching in on the pot money for the family games will make you win everyone’s hearts! It doesn’t have to be “paybtawsan”—even a bigyan-ng-jacket does it! Know that your contribution will surely be appreciated.
4. Talk about their accomplishments
Instead of talking about what you think is still lacking in someone’s life (i.e. “Bakit wala ka pang boyfriend/girlfriend?”), talk about their accomplishments or little wins in life and commend them for it. Whether it’s about passing the board exam or a video of them getting their pet to do a simple trick, it’s something worth noting. After all, it’s a day of celebration so let’s celebrate victories, big or small!
5. Share about a newfound hobby/passion and how others could try it, too
Talking about common interests instead of differences in views and opinions is one way to get through the holiday without any drama or conflict. You can share about things like discovering a new hobby or passion that others might find interesting as well or a helpful life hack you’ve come across online.
6. Spill some tea about a popular chika
Let’s face it, nobody likes being the subject of a gossip, but surely most people (if not everyone) are interested about the current talk of the town or what’s happening around the neighborhood. So if you have some info about an interesting chika, spill the tea, tita! (But reminder to always exercise fact checking before sharing any news or chika.)
7. Encourage people to pursue their dreams and support their plans in life
Encourage younger people to go out, chase their dreams, and explore as many places they can while they’re still young. Getting the support you need in this tough world could mean everything to someone and sometimes it’s what we need to feel the spirit of Christmas.
8. Share lessons in life without imposing that people should make the same decisions you did
Some titas love sharing information or life lessons that they think might be helpful but sometimes they could go overboard and step on some boundaries. The thing is, our experience differ from one another and what might be effective to you might not be the same case for another person. It’s important that we respect each other’s decisions in life and understand that being older doesn’t give us free pass to dictate how other people should live their lives.
Being single doesn’t equate to being lonely, tita, and this weight gain is no thanks to your bland spaghetti! Charot lang po.
As we welcome a new decade, we’re hoping every family member will be more open-minded, respect each other’s privacy and boundaries, and learn how to keep their snide remarks to themselves—especially when a person just want to eat lechon or dance to Sarah G’s “Tala” without getting asked about their future marital plans. Or else y’all are not getting invited next year or ever again. Just kidding!