What I will miss this Christmas
Somehow, the Yuletide season brings out the best in people.

What I will miss this Christmas

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza (The Philippine Star) - November 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Yesterday, Nov. 29, was Advent Sunday, the start of a new liturgical year. Advent is the period of four weeks before Christmas that allows us to prepare for and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Though Christmas is 25 days away, I don’t feel the holiday spirit. I hardly hear Christmas carols on the radio, there are no Christmas lanterns hanging along avenues, and there are no invitations to Christmas parties. How different this Christmas will be from past ones.

These are the things I will miss most this Christmas:

1. Going to church to hear Mass during Advent or attending Simbang Gabi is out of the question for me. Since Metro Manila is still under GCQ, only 30-percent seating capacity is allowed in churches, except for Manila, which allows 50-percent seating capacity. If not for this pandemic, I believe church attendance would be very high this season. Personally, I love going to Mass during Advent and listening to the church choir sing beautiful carols. Somehow, the Yuletide season brings out the best in us…we smile more, we’re more generous, more forgiving and generally happier.

2. Going to Divisoria to buy my wrapping papers, ribbons, Christmas décor, gifts for the staff and personnel in our condominium. I've invited my sister Penny to go with me to Divisoria for our annual shopping trip, but she refuses to go.

3. Wrapping gifts. I take pride in personally wrapping each gift I give. But this year, my Christmas list has been reduced by more than 50-percent because of ABS-CBN’s closure. And since I won’t be seeing most of my godchildren, nephews and nieces, I’ll just give them the gift of G-cash.

4. Kris-Kringle. This was so much fun when we played it in the office. Days before the Christmas break, we would each pick our “baby” and then give a gift to him or her following a designated theme, such as soft and round, hard and long, sweet and sexy, wet and wild, and so on. One had to be quite creative and imaginative to find a gift that suited the theme.

5. Christmas bonus! Aside from the mandatory 13th month pay at ABS-CBN, we were guaranteed an additional 1.5 months at the end of the year. If the company performed exceedingly well, there would be an even bigger bonus in store!

6. Christmas parties and reunions. In previous years, I would already be receiving invitations to parties and get-togethers by this time. The Friday nights and Saturday nights of December would be booked. There’d be the office party, the department party, the lunch group party, the high school barkada reunion, and reunions for all other barkadas I belong to! What I will miss most is the Daza reunion. I will miss being with my cousins at Nina Daza-Puyat’s house on Christmas Day for lunch and a Mass officiated by our cousin, Fr. Fidel Orendain, SDB. The gathering would see us chatting and laughing non-stop while enjoying good food based on the recipes of my late lola Daza.

Recently, we introduced a new tradition called “white elephant.” It required everyone to bring a gift they received and didn’t like, putting it on the table and playing a game for a chance to get a better, nicer gift. One by one, we’d throw the dice. If the number that came up was odd, you’d then grab the gift you wanted. If the dice throw was even, you’d miss your turn. The two-minute game would always be very noisy and tense, with everyone hoping loudly that their preferred gift would not be snatched away by someone else!

Though we will not be able to do many of our “favorite Christmas things” this year, let’s be grateful for what we have, especially the gifts of good health, family and friends, and share our blessings with those who aren’t as fortunate.

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