Christmas is a big deal for Filipinos. It starts early in the Philippines, and ends after the Feast of the Three Kings, around the first week of January. Sometimes, it gets extended until February. We used to decorate as early as September. There were many reasons to be joyous as December was my dad and my grandma’s birthday month. I remember feeling cheery as December 1 rolls in, being excited for Noche Buena, the traditional Christmas dinner before 12 midnight on December 24, and for grandma’s birthday party where the whole family gathers.
After Dad passed away in 2004, we stopped celebrating Christmas until around 2009. Just when we got our bearings back, Grandma passed away in 2010. My Christmases after that were usually spent with Johnnie, Jack or Jose. Yup, I drink myself numb while the whole world rejoices. Last year, Gretel, one of my furbabies, died on Christmas day. Why do you hate me, God? I silently screamed as we buried Gretel. This season officially became a sad reminder of happy days gone by. I hated Christmas.
On New Year’s Day 2017, I resolved that Christmas this year will be different. I said to myself that I will try not to be a grinch. I was also hoping that this will also be the year when I cease to be a holiday orphan since it is my first Christmas with Chris (even the pun is making fun of me, rubbing it in). Well guess what? It is just my luck to be with someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas for reasons I don’t want to put here. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to celebrate it with me. On top of it all, one of my furbabies, Hansel, Gretel’s twin, is sick. I’m afraid he might not make it. I’m just steering myself ready for the heartbreak that is to come. What else is new?
My Christmas wish is just to be happy for once during this season—my family (furbabies included) to be healthy, and spend it with Chris, making new memories. But happiness is elusive to me. I hate December. It is a month of too many sad memories, and heartaches. I need a coma, a month long coma. I want to sleep and wake up in January. I’m totally okay with not waking up at all and just slipping into oblivion.