I hope you survived the Holidays —

More than us surviving the so-called Apocalypse, as “predicted” by the Mayan Calendar, I think what’s more commendable is us surviving the insanity and Holiday rush that we all know too well during Christmas.

While we pretty much guessed that we will survive the so-called “End of the World”, there is really no assurance when it comes to surviving the Holidays, especially here in the Philippines where a mere trip to the mall is enough to induce anyone’s hidden stark, raving mad tendencies.

I am not a big fan of Christmas, a reality that I always try to underscore by putting off my Christmas shopping until the very last end. This annoying habit of course leads to me being stuck in any of the following nightmarish scenarios: long cashier lines, replete with shoppers who do not know the meaning of the word: “please fall in line”; lack of available cabs due to taxi drivers refusing to convey passengers who do not pass their evil whims; Manila traffic and lastly, the chaos and pandemonium of gift-giving and partying with people you’d rather not touch with a ten-foot pole.

I don’t know how you do it in your neck of the woods, but here in the Philippines we take Christmas very seriously. It is also the moment where parents drag half-asleep kids, dressed in their newest Sunday wear to homes of relatives, family friends and neighbors to collect their Christmas gifts. These gifts can either be in the form of cash or toys. In the Philippines, kids turn into millionaires every 25th of December, their pockets bulging with cash and their hands heavy with toys.

In a recent CNN feature, it was mentioned that the Philippines celebrate Christmas the longest. Christmas carols will pipe up mall PA systems once the calendar hits the months ending with “–ber” and culminating in January the next year. Imagine three agonizing months of Holiday muzak, long shopping cues and existing with the phonies. To loosely quote Jack Kerouac, “phonies are usually out in full force” during this time of the year.

I am ending this post with a short prayer: may you spent and survived the Holidays in the warm company of your loved ones”

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