Christmas Memories

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos

I belong to a religious group where Thanksgiving is celebrated instead of Christmas. For 31 years of my life, I used to celebrate Christmas with my family and childhood friends. I celebrated Christmas even if it’s just for socialization’s sake. What is so magical about Christmas? Isn’t it that the early pagans are the ones who first celebrated this supposedly holy occasion?

Ah, let me regress through the times that I celebrated Christmas with my family and friends.

The year was mid-80’s. I was in 3rd grade when I received a total of 700 pesos as Christmas gift. It was a big amount at that time. I was able to buy a new pair of Mighty Kid shoes because of that. It’s good to have generous relatives during Christmas. =)

When financial crisis hit our family in the late 80’s, I saw my mother’s worried face three weeks before Christmas. I overheard her talking with my father.

“Magpapasko na wala pang damit ang mga bata,” she said. (It’s about Christmas, the kids don’t have new clothes yet)

It was our hardest and poorest Christmas. Thank God, my father was able to get a commission a week before Christmas.

Early 90’s, when money flowed in like flashflood, was the first time that my brother and I got our first signature clothes and shoes. It was also the time when I realized that having signature items would not make me a bigger person especially if the people around me are not aware of what’s original or what’s fake. (Like hello, everyone can have fake LV’s but only a few can tell which is fake and which is not fake!)

My relatives from my mom’s side love to eat. We get together every Christmas and we just eat and eat and eat! Oh, I almost forgot that our family had Noche Buena.

My saddest Christmas was sometime in late 90’s when I pleaded hard to my daughter’s father to please stay with us and don’t go home yet to his parents in the province. It was so sad a Christmas that until now that I no longer celebrate it, I still feel that pain whenever I remember that day.

There was a time when an ex-lover and a current lover would race to give me a call at 12:00 AM or Noche Buena. I should be happy to have two men “fighting” over my attention and affection but the joy was superficial. Who wants to deal with an ex who could not move on and a current who competes with my ex?

Of course, pre and post-Christmas parties with my friends were one of the most memorable. My childhood friends are like my brothers and sisters; I can be my true self when I’m with them.

Christmas or should I say, December 25 would never be the same without my mother who passed away last May 2009. Generally, our home at the province will never be the same without her around. If there is one wish that God would give me, I would ask Him to tell my mother that her kare-kare is still the best. That her crema de fruta is what I can’t replicate. That her hundreds of godchildren appreciate her small tokens. That she doesn’t need to bother giving me Christmas presents. That she is still the BEST mother in the world.

*now I am crying*