Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nostalgia: Christmas musings

I am not a Christmas person but I'm no Scrooge. Maybe because I was brought up in a family where Christmas is considered un-Christian and therefore not celebrated. But I joined Christmas activities in school, admired the festive d├ęcor and loved the nightly carolers.  And I confess that I even went with childhood friends to a few simbang gabi only because of bibingka and the chance of seeing my crush. :p  

Then I was godmother to my friends' children---about 20 of them and counting. When I started to earn money, Christmas shopping was my main event when the -ber months arrive. I stretched my budget so I could buy gifts for everybody---my family, godchildren, close friends and officemates.

@ mirandablue

Nativity set from Creative Treasury
I got excited when the Christmas lights along Ayala Avenue were lighted. Whole day shopping in Divisoria was something I looked forward to. The Christmas rush thrilled me! Wrapping gifts the whole night delighted me! But as the years pass, Christmas and all its traditions have become another stressful event to hurdle before the year ends---a sign of Christmas burnout, I was told. Or maybe, I am just getting old.  The long lines in the stores feel like a hike to Mt. Everest---sore feet, short tempers, tired sales clerks, crazy traffic, highway robbery, pickpockets are some the words I associate with Christmas as I crawled myself out from the maddening mob of shoppers in Greenhills.

Christmas is such a metaphor---it offers a place and a time for reactions to happen, transformations of people, not all bright and happy. It's mind-boggling how a spiteful co-worker would suddenly turn sugary around Christmas.  The season can also be a time of darkness---imagine OFWs, sailors, prisoners and soldiers at Christmas; a need for hope, like for Congress to pass priority bills before their Christmas break; and a time of suspense---would he finally tell me how he feels after Christmas dinner? would I get a Christmas bonus?...with considerable potential for depression and disappointment (we're still "friends"...or he didn't even call! Or I was expecting a diamond ring, not a stupid scarf!). :p

I have no special childhood Christmas memory, except for the exchange of crudely gift-wrapped soap, hanky and toothbrush in grade school, Christmas pageants in high school and an occasional gift from my godfather. My childhood memories are not of Christmas gifts and rituals, but of hopes and fears, of a place that had nurtured my dreams, a scene etched forever in all its smells, sounds, tastes, textures and feel. 

When the cold December wind blows, I dream of those childhood memories.  My old creaky bed and ratty old pillow, patterns on my grandmother's housedress, the smell of burning dried leaves, warm bibingka for breakfast, dew drops on grass, hide-and-seek games, warm sand on the beach, ghost stories after dark. The season makes me homesick (even when I’m home!). Maybe I long for a different time, a sweet, innocent time when life was simpler.

Whatever you do and however you celebrate Christmas, remember that Christmas is not a date, it's a state of mind.

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. 
~ Agnes M. Pharo


Chubskulit Rose said...

Sarap mo sigurong maging Ninang sis heheeh. Buti ka nga soap, toothpaste, and hanky ang gift, mine is just candy lol. I remember when I first join exchange gifts, used my "alkansya" money to buy my manita a good one but then I was disappointed with what I got lol..

Verna Luga said...

Baw... Luna karelate gid ko sa imu... toud... I'm still composing an article in my mind about me being a hybrid believer ..... hahahha...

amu na siguro kung mal-am kana.. and you know your options... hehehe..

MERRY CHRISTMAS... SIS... take it like greeting you good morning.. hahaha..

Lina Gustina said...

Nice to read your story, Luna...
Wish you have a wonderful Christmas :)

Thanks for your visit...

anne said...

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

I just love this quoute thanks for sharing