My Christmases are always spent in Manila. I will not have it any other way or anywhere else. It’s just different when it’s spent here.
For Filipinos, Christmas is a big deal. It’s well-celebrated and there’s just really this Christmas spirit that you feel everywhere. You literally feel it in the air. People are nicer, more generous, kinder. This is what I always want to feel every Christmas season.
I’m a Christmas late-bloomer. I really didn’t get to appreciate Christmas since a few years ago, not because I’m a Grinch, but because I always get into weird and sad predicaments during Christmas season when I was younger.
Barely 10 years old, I spent Christmas with my then neighbor-childhood best friend and it was just the two of us. I remember vividly that we were sad because both our families were too tired to wait for midnight to strike and celebrate. This is also one of the reasons why no matter how sleepy and tired I get, I wait for twelve midnight for Noche Buena because I didn’t want my daughter to feel what I felt (yes, it’s a personal baggage).
In my teens and my early twenties, I found myself either breaking up or being broken up with by a partner. There was even a time that I found out a boyfriend was cheating on me three-friggin-days before Christmas!
In my late twenties, there was a time that I didn’t come home and decided to stay in my Makati apartment to spend Christmas quietly…alone.
A recent ex-beau also walked out on me and packed his bags before New Year’s, leaving our plans and me – high and dry.
In no way am I implying that I have zero faults in the situation, but these are just illustrations of how my Christmases of years’ past sucked. That is, until things turned around 5 years ago.
Since then, I always made it a point to celebrate. I come home to Manila for a weekend on the first week of December to put the Christmas tree up and hang our Christmas lantern outside the house. By 21st of December, I make sure I come home for the holidays and celebrate with family and friends.
This Christmas is no different, and I’m sure glad I broke the pattern of having a sucky Christmas, when everyone else is into the holiday season and I’m just feeling depressed.
This Christmas season, I hope you’re having a wonderful celebration. May the holidays treat you well, may you treat others kindly and may you open yourselves and your homes to others to bring them joy, hope and possibly love.
Merry Christmas, everyone!