Chinoy Living, Lifestyle, Profiles

Here’s what Jose Mari Chan actually does during Christmas

Filipinos know what happens when the clock strikes 12 midnight every September 1: the Christmas season ushers in! (Yes, dear reader, it’s already October; it’s been more than a month already!) 

The “ber” months have begun, and normally during this time, malls and stores once again start displaying their ever-colorful Christmas decorations, and… Christmas songs, oh those wonderful songs! From Nat King Cole’s traditional Adeste Fideles to Michael Bublé’s lively Holly Jolly Christmas, nothing compares to Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year. 

If Filipinos were to be asked what (or who) characterizes Filipino Christmas music, chances are most would answer, you guessed it, Jose Mari Chan! (Cue the music: “Whenever I see girls and boys…”)

Have we ever stopped to wonder, though, what he ACTUALLY does during Christmas? Does he just sing Christmas In Our Hearts all day, every day? Not really!


The reason for the season: Jesus’ nativity

Far from just singing all day every day, Chan’s deep Catholic faith really takes center stage during his Christmas seasons. He passionately shared this in an interview on Radyo Katipunan 87.9 last September. 

“First and foremost is, we go to Mass together at Christmas,” he said. “That’s one way to celebrate in communion with the whole Christendom.” 

Unapologetically, this religious theme characterizes Chan’s life during and outside of Christmas. Jose Mari Chan wouldn’t be Jose Mari Chan without his faith. 

His favorite Christmas song? Not Joy to the World, not Frosty the Snowman, and most definitely not Christmas In Our Hearts

“My all-time favorite time is,” and he actually starts singing it live, “O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. That is my all-time favorite Christmas song!”


Christmas as a family event

Chan also revealed his most memorable Christmas gift: a ukulele, the very first instrument that he learned to play. 

Christmas gifts find their selves within a rich Christmas tree and the traditional gift-giving in the Chan family. Just like everyone, they, too, delight in unwrapping those colorful gifts under the tall green tree!

One thing stands out in their family, though: “Over the years, my children have their own Christmas ornaments,” Chan recalls. “For example, Liza (Chan’s daughter)… [We still have] her favorite ornaments from when she was only four years old [or] five years old. We still have them here in the house!” 

“When they come to the house, they get those ornaments,” Chan says as he raises his hand and slowly lowers them as if he’s getting something from on top of a Christmas tree, “and then they even show them to their children and say: ‘This was my ornament when I was your age.’ The ornaments carry memories.” 


A special Christmas message

Now, in this time of the pandemic, Christmas may seem all too difficult to celebrate. Large family reunions may no longer be possible, shopping joyfully, and in anticipation for our noche buenas will be different, and those Christmas parties have to be put on hold for many of us. 

So, how, then, do we celebrate Christmas this year? 

Now has come the time for Chan’s classic and iconic Christmas In Our Hearts! What is Chan’s Christmas message for everyone this year? 

“Let love like that starlight on that first Christmas morn lead us back to the manger where Christ the child was born.”


The author of this article: 

An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook:

Leave a Reply