There’s something strange about Christmas this year. I am yet to see dazzling lights or hear screechy carols. Instead, I make out a twinkle here, angels choirs there.
What happened to razzle-dazzle? I haven’t seen sleighs and reindeer prancing about three storey houses, or a parachuted Santa going down the chimney. People have settled for a tree, some lanterns, and a touch of red. (Alright, maybe the recycled snowman from Christmas past.) But it seems like there’s no ostentatious decking of halls inside gated villages. Somehow, people are thinking twice about adorning their homes, noticing that people outside their gates live in makeshift homes with roofs that fly. Bit-by-bit, we have an inkling of what it means to be on the road to Bethlehem, hungry and weary for shelter, and finding no room at the inn.
2. The Christmas Party
Thank goodness for foregoing the mindless tradition where we dress up, whip up a dance number, and win raffle prizes. People are making merry without the need to gyrate to this year’s Christmas-dance-craze (haven’t you noticed there’s none this year?) Instead, the loot that could have bought us Lechon or fruitcake, and the toasters or televisions sets, have been dispatched to buy someone’s bread, and build someone else a home.
3. Noche Buena
You no longer have to agonize over pounds or attire. The glutton is passé this year. There are no endless Noche Buena parties bedecked in gold with sumptuous spreads on silver. Add to that this year’s trend that we don’t dress up with jewels. People don’t want to show off. That’s so last season.
4. Santa Klaus
You make lists and check it twice. You wrap the nth gift. Except this year, the list categorizes donations and relief, and your cards are written out to strangers. Want to give love? There’s a ravaged town for that.
The portly Santa with a sack of toys and goodies has gently taken the backseat. There’s an excess of Father Christmases, the magical and genial man in a red coat spreading warmth and good cheer.
Your grandmother’s recipe, the knick-knack you stitched or crocheted, something handcrafted, these are finally au courant! No one’s going to scoff at your handmade with love gift. These will trump any gadget of the year. (Note to husband: we’re just not there yet.)
No one’s expecting a gift. It feels extravagant, needless, and even wasteful. Surely we don’t need another aromatherapy candle. I’m hoping there will be less of empty, meaningless, token gifts, and White Elephant parties.
6. Silver Bells
This was the time for the tinkling of silver in your cash register. When businesses cashed in on the need to overstuff stockings and weigh down the tree. When there’s a concert, a play, a ballet and a reason to party every day. Except somehow, the so-called greedy have chosen to don the red suit this year, giving 20, 30, all profits away. And even Justin Beiber sang and gave hugs for free.
7. Peace and Goodwill to all Men
A war of words between the country’s oldest and feistiest statesmen, and even between the executive branch over a name (what’s in a name!) I couldn’t quite complete this Christmas package. Peace and goodwill to all men? Not there yet. Well, maybe next year.
I dreaded Christmas. Why be jolly when you’re trapped inside traffic jams, shopping bags and potbellied Santa Claus with a huge belt. Add to that a tortuous rendition of Jingle bells that begin in September and are capped off with Gangnam Style by Christmas.
Yet this Season is hushed. It isn’t even frantic. As though something is silently approaching and we are simply in wonder, awaiting a birth. There’s some twinkling of lights, as people kindle warmth in so many places. As though we are making space for something, so there’s some bit of room at the inn. Seemingly, there hasn’t been much need for trimmings or bells, for filling up our bellies or adorning our tree.
I’m beginning to have a taste for the Season. Finally, it’s looking a whole lot like Christ-mas.