Monday, November 21, 2011

Party Pooper Alert

It's that time of the year when I get that strange feeling, that overwhelming desire to give the Grinch a call.  Manila needs to tone down the holidays a notch or two or ten.  Christmas in this country gets ridiculous with a personal shopping lists of over 100, carols in the malls on the first of September, neighbors taking down their Halloween decor and putting up the Christmas lights in the same day, a total bazaar overload, an absurd number of Christmas lunches, dinners and parties to go to, and the inevitable gridlock of traffic it all brings. 

Yes folks, I'm a big fat Scrooge.  Christmas is only fun when you're a kid with all the toys or when you are a teenager that gets a long school break.  But once you are an adult it should be illegal to go around making such a big deal of the hype, the presents and the Christmas party dance excesses of decadence, food and booze.  I think that we all too often forget what Christmas is supposed to be about and overkill the whole merry making bit.    

Even Gael and Aiden get caught up in all the commercial crap that goes along with the season.  As soon as the first neighbor puts up the Christmas whatever, the boys start with the nagging/annoying/pressuring.  When will we put up our decoration?  We counted and there are 17 houses that have decorated.  It seems every home we go to has Christmas carols to play.  Of course I have none.  With school in the equation, the Christmas list gets even longer.  I don't ever remember giving every single classmate a present but apparently these days you do.  This makes me even Grinchier than ever, especially since the gifts are far from thought out presents from one friend to another.  If only the boys didn't get upset or feel out of place, I wouldn't buy any classmate (and many others) a gift.  The amount of presents they receive is absolutely nuts.  They each get something from my friends, my cousins, my uncles and aunts, my siblings plus the grandparents.  It all adds up to a tower taller than they are.  I kid you not.  Opening them is a total frenzy.  If a child would ever have a moment of temporary insanity, this would be it.  Pretty much like the worst sugar rush on steroids.  Half the loot I keep in storage and take out as needed throughout the year.

The holidays are always tricky for a Scrooge Mama like me.  I am so not into it but I don't exactly want to ruin the Christmas of the earthlings.  If anyone is supposed to have fun at this time of the year it is them.  I may be Grinchy but I do remember how much fun Christmas was when I was a kid and I guess it is their turn.  I want a more balanced version of things though.  Sure they can get gifts but with gratitude, they can give gifts but out of affection and not obligation.  Just the other day I was discussing this exact issue with a couple of my good friends who are the hugest brats I know.  They were bratty when we were twelve and they are bratty at 37.  The bratinellas themselves were worried that their own kids would get everything they ever wanted, feel as entitled as they did and be as bratty as they are.

Can you guess how many times I have to roll my eyes and bite my tongue these days? But I make a compromise every year, just so that the earthlings don't look back and think I made them have the worst Christmases ever.  For only 25 days in a year, I will be jolly and merry, Santa believing and gift wrapping, heck I'll even Ho! Ho! Ho! if they want me to.  Twenty five days.  That's not too much, it's doable.  So come December 1st I will put up the tree, sing some carols with the earthlings, wrap the shitload of presents and do all the Christmas crap stuff I have to do. 


  1. I never understood the crazy-long Christmas lists and the "Christmas in September" concept. It's silly to me. I love Christmas, but making it all about gift-giving (even for people you don't want to give to in the first place!) is a twisted concept. And the traffic jams just add to the aggravation.

    I remember Christmases as a kid being quiet, spent with my mom, dad and sibs in HK or Singapore. Only once or twice in our almost twelve years abroad did we return to Manila for Christmas! I miss those days when it was just the five of us, gathered around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, each taking turns expressing our thankfulness for the blessings of the past year before we opened gifts; we got three each, that was all! And we looked forward (and still do) to the yummy lunch Mom would make herself: a plump turkey with loads of gravy, potatoes, cranberry jelly--yum yum.

    Actually, we still do this every December 25; we have Christmas "turkey brunch" at my folks--just us sibs and our spouses and kids, no extended family--and re-live Christmases of old as we used to celebrate while we ourselves were kids. It's nice that our kids can enjoy the same tradition we did when we were young.

    Ay, nag-blog yata ako dito. Hehe.

    Merry Christmas, Rone!

  2. Isn't nuts, Martine? Honestly I don't remember Christmas ever being this crazy when I was a kid. We always do the extended family Christmas parties. I used to dread Christmas day arriving at the biggest one and having to greet over 50 relatives.

  3. We do the reunion things, too, but I don't have fun unless I hang with my cousins, lol. What I hate are those super-extended family gatherings wherein my grandmas introduce me to relatives I never even knew existed!

  4. We don't do the big family reunions every year now. We are just too many now.

  5. WE used to love Christmas! We'd try to open our gifts then steal original Nana's scotch tape to put the wrapper back then pretend we were surprised each time to receive EXACTLY the same thing.
    But yes, Christmas is seriously OA these days.
    Thanks to you the boys have been bugging me to put up the tree and decorate already making me think like were the last ones on Earth to do it. I keep saying 'It's only November!" Luckily all I have to do is tell them "Go outside. Check out Tita Rone's house." That shuts them up for a while. Haha!

  6. Christmas when we were kids were the best! That is precisely why I don't want to be such a scrooge, gotta let them enjoy too.

    I promised them December 1 because a tree up in November is just too exaggerated. Or Maybe November 30 since it's a holiday.

  7. You could start a family tradition and decorate the tree every Nov. 30th, that way they know exactly what to expect. And Nov. 30 was Abuelo Tots' birthday so you even have a legitimate reason/excuse.

    And I confess, I go crazy with th gifts because...well your earthlings and Mik, Mak and the rest of th crew - I simply adore them! How can I possibly not overdo?