December 2011 will forever be remembered as probably the most tragic and destructive Christmas season in Philippine history, since it was the month when Typhoon Sendong (international code name: Washi) visited the country and caused tremendous losses of lives and damage to property and environment, most especially in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
However, the same month will also be remembered as the time when Filipinos have united in giving aid and comfort and in alleViating the sufferings of their countrymen who fell victims to the wrath of Sendong Not to be disregarded and forgotten was the fact that governments, institutions and individuals, named and anonymous, trom around the world have also joined in commiserating with Filipinos and have graciously sent unsoliCited donations and other forms of aid to the Philippine Government.
These sincere and intentional acts of bayanihan, generosity, magnanimity and solidarity were in heartwarming display throughout the Christmas season and even after Christmas Day-consistent with and true to the spirit and essence of the Christmas tradition, which Filipinos have been traditionally celebrating as a season of giving and goodwill
Considering the phenomenon of generosity in the face of tragedy that we have witnessed last December 2011, there is a need to install a historical cornerstone in our national calendar whereby Filipinos may not only remember and commemomte, but also continually avow, their generosity and magnanimity towards their countrymen, especially in times of need, no less dUring Christmas season, where ordinarily the attention and focus are to one's family, relatives and friends.
Interestingly, in several countries, such as England, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, December 26 is celebrated as a public non-working holiday, popularly called as the "The Second Christmas Day", "Boxing Day", or "Day of Goodwill". Originating in England, "Boxing Day" is believed to date way back to the Middle Ages where it has been practised that gifts and alms, which are placed in boxes outside churches on Christmas day, are distributed to the poor a day after Christmas. Also, employers also give Christmas boxes to their workers who are allowed to go home to their families only after Christmas day, since they are required to work on Christmas day.
The significance of the culture of sharing to strangers witnessed in December 2011 in our nation's history, coupled with the cultural significance of the "day after Christmas" in other countries, serves as sufficient reason to elevate December 26 as a statutory special non-working holiday. There is also the practical reason to declare it as such, to give ample time for our citizens to travel and prepare for work on the next working day, since more often than not they can only conveniently wtnd up their holiday celebrations by Christmas day's end.