In a few minutes I will be closing my birthday, officially the most intriguing, stressful and legendary birthday of my life. In a few minutes, it will be Christmas, but it doesn't feel like it. When you pass by or enter our house, it feels bare. My boyfriend visited me awhile ago and accompanied me to dinner. Having him here made me feel Christmas for a bit.
They say Christmas doesn't feel like before with the ballooning costs now plus the so-called cultural evolution. Christmas is also different when you're a kid receiving gifts and not worrying about anything except on missing on your favorite TV shows. Christmas is happier when you're young I heard them say a thousand times. I even hear myself declaring how much I hate christmas. I want to fast forward and skip to next year. But you know, it wasn't really like this before. I was happy during the holidays. It made me go back in time thinking how much I had loved Christmas before.
You see, yearly since the time I could remember, we would always go home to Cebu for Christmas. As soon christmas break would start, we'd pack our bags and take that flight to Cebu with full grown eyebags from not sleeping due to excitement. My parents never asked us of our Christmas plans anymore. Spending it in Cebu is a yearly thing we look forward to. We never spend Christmas here in Manila and frankly, spending it here had not crossed my mind.
In Cebu, we were surrounded by my favorite relatives. Every day there was filled with activities. We'd go to malls, my aunts would treat my sister and I, we would watch endless TV and eat non-stop. We'd buy cassette tapes and dance for my grandparents. We'd go from one house to the next eating. We'd sleep late and wake up late. We'd go to church. We'd do the grand clan-like celebration. A week there is never enough. We would often beg my father to extend our vacation, but we always had to go back before New Year's.
Whatever happened? Perhaps we got older and our schedules wouldn't fit. When I was in college, our yearly christmas thing in Cebu began to deteriorate until we completely go to Cebu on our own accord. We ended up spending Christmas wherever's convenient, which usually ends up in Manila. Since we don't have relatives here, I depended on my family to make Christmas sweeter, but we are technically not a sweet bunch are we?
I envy people with Happy and merry christmases that are not forced. I envy unpretentious Christmas celebrations. I envy my relatives in Cebu because we're not there to share it with them. It doesn't matter if your clan is not grand you spend christmas with your immediate family just eating and watching TV solemnly. It's okay if you're not festive and you didn't do anything interesting, but at least for one day, the family should function as one.
I know now why my christmas as a kid was a blast. I appreciated it more because as a kid, adult and trivial matters did not reach me. I was blind to people's differences and I only saw the happiness masked by adults who kept Christmas alive for our sake. I was surrounded with a group of people who functioned as one.
I had a share of happy christmases and I fear that is enough. I will forever cherish that. I couldn't say the same for my younger brother though because he did not experience the same christmas joys my sister and I had. He came in when things became more sour and complicated. He admits that he doesn't feel Chrstmas now; and at his age it's rare for kids to say that. But he'll be okay. It would spare him from nostalgic moments, which I'm experiencing now.