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Alex Eduque’s Gift for Giving

Alex Eduque is sniffling on the day of her shoot. She tells us she got a cold after sorting through their dusty bodega for decor that could be recycled for this year’s holiday season. It’s the first place she looks whenever Christmas comes around. Purchasing new decorative items, whether at SM, Landmark or Rustan’s, for really nice accent pieces always comes second. “Christmas is very personal to me, in the sense that it’s my creative outlet. Every gift that I give out, I wrap myself. Each card is handwritten. I don’t use template cards, so every card really has a note that comes from me,” she shares.

Eduque describes herself as someone who’s always been into crafts. She designs, draws, and generally enjoys just fixing things. She’s always on the lookout for an activity that will let her creative juices flow. Needless to say, the vibrant colors of Christmas get her excited. For their belen a few years ago, Eduque added a modern twist by hanging capiz stars that used to be on their tree. She then got hay from a farm, sprayed it with pesticide, and put lights on top for a very organic feel.

Of course, no Christmas table is complete without food, and Eduque’s family has always been particularly decadent. “There’s always a roast. There’s always lechon. There’s always a turkey. There’s always a paella of some sort. We’re carnivores, my God,” she says with a laugh. They’re not ones to hold back on the side dishes either—the feast usually includes mashed potatoes, yams, chestnuts, fruits, and a million desserts. “Our cooks have been with us forever and ever, so family recipes have been passed down,” she continues. “Everyone’s responsible for bringing something to the table. Ours is usually turkey or roast beef.”

Eduque also makes it a point to attend Simbang Gabi, relishing the peace and serenity of waking up at a very early hour. She readily admits, though, that towards the end it starts to feel like a sacrifice especially when the parties begin to pile up. On top of family traditions, she loves Christmas because it’s the time of year when one can give without having to justify to people why she chooses to be generous. This is one occasion Eduque takes to go all out in her sharing. Her family hosts Christmas parties for their househelp and staff, encouraging them to bring their families from the province. These are well-organized events with games, a raffle, catered food, and a mass. “It’s really families being with families,” she says.

They also go on trips with MoveEd, the NGO that Eduque founded for early childhood education. She believes that Christmas is really for kids, so she organizes Christmas parties in different communities where MoveEd sites are located. “It’s the time of the year to look forward to and be happy about, no matter where you come from, or who you are. Positivity should reign, and all the hard work you’ve done the entire year comes back to you as a blessing.”