1. The Philippines, one of the six predominantly Christian countries in Asia, boasts the earliest, longest, and perhaps, the most colorful Christmas season in the world. Amidst the worst calamities, crises, losses, and pandemic, we Filipinos always carry resilient spirits and joyful hearts in celebrating Christmas and the holiday season.
2. The first Christmas set the pattern for how Jesus Christ lived His whole life here on earth: with humility, simplicity, and obedience. Every Christmas is an invitation and a challenge for humanity to imitate and imbibe these virtues.
3. To this end, the whole Department of Education (DepEd) community is urged to strive for a genuine celebration of hope, unity, and service for others every Christmas season. Celebrations in public schools and DepEd central and field offices should be simple yet meaningful, keeping in mind the true spirit of the season and the austerity called for by the difficult economic times.
4. In line with the foregoing, the following guidelines should be observed:
a. All Christmas parties, themes, costumes, decoration, and exchange gifts are voluntary. No learner or Deped personnel should be forced to contribute, participate, or use their money for the celebration;
b. No learner shall be excluded from joining the Christmas celebration by reason of their failure to give the voluntary contribution or absence of a prepared gift;
c. Celebrations in schools and in DepEd offices, as far as practicable, should be simple yet meaningful. Christmas party themes should not result to expenses that will become a burden on parents, students, and DepEd personnel;
d. Contributions for celebrations in schools or offices, whether in cash or in kind, should be strictly voluntary;
e. Old Christmas decors should be recycled, purchase of new decors are not encouraged. No learner or Deped personnel will be required to make decors specifically for a party.;
f. Christmas parties in schools may be organized within class hours so long as it does not interfere with the scheduled lesson plans intended to be taught to the students;
g. The conduct of Christmas get-togethers and other similar year-end activities should not compromise the provision of departmental services;
h. Gift-giving should be guided by the spirit of sharing and should not lead to extravagant spending;
i. DepEd personnel should be reminded that solicitations, whether in cash or in kind, are not allowed for Christmas parties or holiday celebrations.
5. The provisions of this Order cover all DepEd schools and offices in the country.
6. Schools Division Offices may issue additional guidelines based on their local customs and traditions, subject to the abovementioned guidelines.
7. Private schools, community learning centers, as well as state/local universities and colleges (SUCs/LUCs) may choose to adopt the provisions of this DO as basis in the conduct of their own Christmas parties or celebrations.
8. Immediate dissemination of and strict compliance with this Order is directed.
Signed: Sara Z. Duterte, December 01, 2022