Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas: the Mood vs. the Event

As a kid, I looked forward to Christmas day. It was that one event every year when you get to see people you only see once in a blue moon. You receive presents wrapped in colorful wrappers and the elders of the clan manage to convince you to do something scandalous like dancing to the tune of The Sign or singing an off key version of Jose Mari Chan's Perfect Christmas. And since it is Christmas day your neighbors could not complain. They probably would not because they are doing it too.

However, as one grows old the once beautifully wrapped presents turn into envelopes, the content of which you already know (A Little Tykes truck would not fit in there, now would it?) That relative you see once a year tells you for the umpteenth time na pumayat ka. By then, you get paranoid and think that maybe you are anorexic and just do not know it. Or perhaps you have an undiagnosed cancer. But after consulting the weighing scale you figure out that the person just did not have anything else to say and it would be boring to talk about the weather on Christmas day. Whoa, did that just rhyme? Dr Seuss!

You refuse to perform anything because you think it is stupid to do a nativity play with an under the sea theme and you have come to respect Jose Mari Chan to ruin another one of his Christmas hits. In short, the once exciting event has become just another weekend with a mouth watering lunch menu and that relative who keeps track of your weight. The event lost its luster. It is just another ordinary day.

As people grow old the i start to turn to Christmas the Mood more than Christmas the Event. That's why they say everyday should be Christmas. The mood could be recreated.

Besides, Jesus was not born on the 25th of December. That day was the feast day of a pagan god called Mithras, until those responsible for the history of the Church decided to steal the date due to its popularity. Clever! Perhaps that is one reason why that day is either hit or miss. It is just a date. It is really Christmas the mood that infects us with the holiday cheer.

The Mood is a mix of different sensations brought about by each of your five senses. Your eyes see blinking Christmas lights everywhere you go. You hear Christina Aguilera shouting words as an excuse for a Christmas album (Thank God for Josh Groban). You smell newly baked Food for the Gods and Leche Flan, which in turn are feasted upon by your taste buds. All these while the cool breeze of the -ber months caress your face as you walk down Taft Avenue at 12 midnight.

Then you get held up by a poor man whose family has nothing to eat for Noche Buena. The Christmas mood is complete! The perfect blend of sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, and a near death experience makes you appreciate the joy of the season. You walk home with a smile on your face.

You could recreate all of those any day of the year! The cool breeze could be substituted by your air conditioner, and your Meralco bill. You could buy a dehydrated Pan de Leche flan from the nearby bakery for your nose and tongue's enjoyment. You could opt not to remove the Christmas lights from your roof (and again the Meralco bill) for your eyes only. And you can listen to your 80's Christmas cassette collection.

You see, every day could be Christmas! It does not necessarily have to be December 25. Of course, you could walk down Taft Avenue anytime. Just bring a sledgehammer, or your weight-commenting relative as a decoy.

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