I come from a very closely knit clan. We have Sunday lunches and random weekend malling. We have movie-watching and theme-park-going during holidays. We celebrate birthdays with LOTS of food, enjoy taking pictures of ourselves, and even have a Facebook page for the Oyco grandchildren.
Christmas is, of course, extra special. There’s a lot of food, games, gift-giving and random performances from the kids. Until Christmas 2009, noche buena has mostly been about getting fantastic gifts from our titos and titas, receiving money from our lola, winning in the bingo games, and eating our hearts out–other than celebrating Jesus’ birth, of course. This year however, thanks to our lola and to the realization that the season should really be more about welcoming Jesus and celebrating about His wonderful gifts to our entire clan, we had a different kind of Christmas.
- Sharing: This Christmas was about sharing. Our entire clan has always been blessed by the Lord materially. We have more than what we need and more often than not, we fail to see the importance of our what we have. This Christmas, each family had some Christmas cleaning to let go of items that we do not really use that much and just give them out to the needy. Right now, we have 3 black bags full of clothes, bags and random items to give away. :)
- Gratitude: One random day before Christmas eve, my mom came home and handed out sheets of paper that look like application forms for Starting Over. We were apparently being asked by our lola to fill it out for Christmas eve. I know, it’s cheesy and mushy, but that’s how the elders roll. The first task on the form was for us to list down names of people we want to say thank you to, and how & when we plan to do it. During noche buena, we were asked to say the list in front of everyone and to no surprise, most had members of the family to thank for the love, concern, words of wisdom, financial support, and prayers. A few tears were even shed courtesy of one of the older boys (his name will not be mentioned to retain his coolness but hihi, iyakin!).
- Change for the Better: Of course, the form had more fields to be filled out. After all, both our grandparents were teachers back in the day. A list of things that we wanted to change about ourselves was in the next item. It included sleeping habits, way of taking care of belongings, respecting parents, etcetera. As “kids”, we all know that we make mistakes but we tend to be proud at times and refuse to acknowledge it. Thankfully, we weren’t asked to say these things out loud but alas, my lola will be tracking our progress for Christmas 2011.
- Giving: As I have said, our Christmases used to be filled with lots of toys and clothes and gifts. This year, however, we didn’t have that. To make up for it, my lola just gave out the usual pamasko. Here’s the catch: kids who already have jobs won’t get any. Tears from me and my kuyas. But, fine, I admit that it was still a good chance to be the giver instead of the receiver as I handed out gifts per family being the fresh grad/new hire that I am.
- Love: The day after Christmas, it was a trip to Baguio for the entire clan for 3 days. It wasn’t really an expensive trip as we only spent on gas, fastfood, and pasalubong but it was a trip worth remembering as we were able to have a bonfire, roast marshmallows, play games, and take pictures with everyone.
This is the true spirit of Christmas for me. Giving back to everyone–strangers and loved ones alike–and returning to your roots to celebrate the BEST GIFT that we got from Jesus: our family.
On another note, I would like to congratulate my dear friend, Ryann Lao, who got engaged last December 18! I’m sure that Christmas is A LOT different for you ;)
Ryann’s a “happy friend” (inside joke) from work and is among my favorite Xavierians! :) I’ve got quite a lot of friends from Xavier whom I happened to get to know in Ateneo. I must say, they are quite a bunch of brilliant guys!
Speaking of Xavierians, here’s a new site to bring with you to 2011. Xvr.in allows you to simplify those freakin’ long links that we usually want to share to our friends. No need to contain yourself from sharing that awesome clip, article, or what-have-you because of the fear of spamming other people or not being able to fit it in your Facebook status or Twitter tweet. Cram it and share it with http://xvr.in/
This entry, other than being a reflection post for Christmas 2010, is an entry for this contest right here. Get a chance to win a spectacular leather Starbucks 2011 planner from Malaysia!