A friend posted on Facebook that they for the first time, will be spending Christmas in the hospital. It brought to mind our own hospital Christmas experience in 1976. My brother Ted who survived a freak airgun shooting accident in July had been in the Iloilo Doctor's Hospital for the past 5 and a half months, slowly recovering from 6 major operations. My brother and I who were both studying in Manila would be spending the holidays with him, our parents and Culing, my Lola's ever loyal cook cum helper.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The Christmas season is here again and with it comes the year's most excessive consumerism ever. The buying frenzy begins on Black Friday (for those in the U.S.A) and continues all season long. It's also the time for racking up credit card debt and getting all stressed up with decorating, parties, shopping, spending etc,. etc., etc...Arghhhh!
Christmas isn't about presents...Jesus was born in a manger bereft of even the most essential physical comfort, so why has the celebration of His birth turned into so much materialism, and the gift-giving and decorating part have become so important that the essence of Christmas becomes secondary? Last year, my family and I have decided to cut back on our Christmas decorations. We did not put up our big tree, instead I got a table top tree which we decorated with LED lights which uses less electricity. It was enough to put a fascinated smile on our little girl's face. We will use it again this year adding ribbons and small balls.
Like last year too, we will have more Belens (Nativity sets) around the house and an Advent wreath which we used during the 4 Sundays of Advent. We will not put any outdoor lights except for a small lighted Christmas bell and we will be donating our big Parol (Christmas Lantern) to the parochial pre-school of our parish.
As with the more simple decorations, we have also decided on a no gift Christmas. In other words no buying gifts for people who don't need them, that includes ourselves. Instead, we will share what we have like donating used but still good clothes, shoes and toys with others in need. Personally, I am making my own little gifts for close friends and giving away things that I have accumulated through the years but barely used. There are other things we can do that will give the season more meaning, for example:
- Volunteer in a Christmas feeding program
- Spend more time with family, create Christmas memories to last a lifetime
- Share your home with orphans or abandoned children
- Prayer cards or offer masses
- Help family or friends by providing them with a service you can give like babysitting, run errands, etc
- Donate to worthwhile charities
- Adopt a family and give them a happy Noche Buena
- Give food/toy packs to children living in the streets
I'm sure there are still many other things we can think about but the point I am trying to make here is that people celebrate Christmas for the wrong reasons. Isn't it time to focus on Jesus? It is His birthday after all.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Christmas when I was a child was all about tradition...the family gatherings at my grandparents whether in Manila or in Silay, the "you have to go to sleep or Santa won't come" threat after dinner, the opening of gifts and noche buena at midnight, the Christmas morning breakfast and mass, and luncheon with all the other relatives and extended families. After my maternal grandfather died, my maternal grandmother soon after moved to Bacolod. Although Christmas celebrations continued to be traditional, it stayed local...meaning we stopped going to Manila for the holiday season. Then my uncle (Dad's brother) and paternal grandfather died within a month of each other. And so, that year because my Dad's side of the family did not want to celebrate in Silay with all the memories of Christmas past, we went to Manila and Christmas Eve was spent in a hotel room near Paco Park and New Year's eve in the boat coming back to Negros.