It's now 7:00 pm. My parents, who are now doting grandparents to my nephews and nieces courtesy of one sister, are out for a late Christmas mass and some malling. My other sister and I are the designated "taong-bahay". It's not possible to go out together, as tradition dictates, because the family car is now too small to fit everyone and my mom would only close her small "sari-sari" store if there is an emergency. Christmas day is not considered an emergency, I guess.
I like the quietness of the house tonight. It's a good time to listen to my thoughts.
In the merriment of the season, the Christmas rush and panic that this holiday brings it is not that easy to sit down and think about the many changes in my perspective of Christmas. It is not just the same anymore. Each year is different, not only because I am getting older or my civil status has not changed yet but also because things around me have changed or (sadly) have not changed at all.
As a nation, we have the distinction of celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world. As a young child, I remember when Christmas for me officially starts: when my mom would start adorning our home with decorations. I remember the lanterns made of shiny green material shaped like a pineapple, and the red giant bells that you could unfold 90 or full 180 degrees depending on your holiday whims. A clever work of paper art I thought because if not in use, you could collapse them for off-season safekeeping. I remember the Christmas alphabets that Mom would hang by our wall, Most of all, I remember the "belen" - a re-enactment of the birth of Jesus - made of cardboard. The characters remind me of paper dolls that you could only play with once every year (I was crazy about paper dolls then.) Christmas tree was either made of string or "walis-tingting" or real potted indoor plant. Our limited Christmas balls were...