Cosmo Convo

Few things match up to the Pi­noy holidaze, but do we still re­mem­ber what the sea­son really means?

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - News -

Real talk: Do we still even know what the hol­i­days mean?

There comes a point in ev­ery per­son’s life when the hol­i­day sea­son stops be­com­ing the most won­der­ful time of the year and trans­forms into a pan­ic­fu­eled, seem­ingly end­less string of par­ties and so­cial obli­ga­tions tax­ing ev­ery as­pect of your be­ing.

The days of care­free in­dul­gence, spent high on life and sugar, make way for mile-long lists de­tail­ing er­rands, gifts to buy, and par­ties to at­tend, many of which we don’t quite care for and would ditch in a heart­beat if it meant solo time with a movie stream­ing ser­vice.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate the hol­i­days. Far from it, in fact: I’m no­to­ri­ous for plan­ning what I’ll be making for Nochebuena months in ad­vance, for pick­ing the per­fect Christ­mas-y movies to marathon, and for end­lessly Googling “best eg­gnog recipe in the world”.

What gets me, though, is how much of the hol­i­days have de­vi­ated from the stuff that truly mat­ters (in my case, spend­ing the whole day in my pa­ja­mas and be­ing beaten at Scrab­ble by my mom) to the stuff that doesn’t (hav­ing a shiny new

Cos­mopoli­tan dress for ev­ery event I at­tend and get­ting the right, blue-boxed gift from my nonex­is­tent boyfriend). Ev­ery­one’s pri­or­i­ties may dif­fer, of course, but I do be­lieve that there are mo­ments when—cliché alert—the hol­i­day spirit be­comes noth­ing but a hazy af­ter­thought.

Tra­di­tion and our per­sonal prin­ci­ples con­verge most strongly dur­ing this time of year, and that may be when the stress mon­ster rears its ugly head. With the sea­son start­ing three months be­fore De­cem­ber 25th, we’re bom­barded with im­ages of stuff to buy, things to do, places to go, what our hol­i­days need to look like. The pres­sure to spend time, money, and ef­fort is on be­cause of course we have to get a gift for ev­ery sin­gle per­son we’ve made con­tact with in 2015! Of course, we have to at­tend our col­lege Christ­mas party, even if we haven’t seen each since grad­u­a­tion! Of course, we have to make nice with our ex­tended fam­ily, even that nasty tita who rev­els in telling us we’ve got­ten fat!

At the end of it all, we’re ex­hausted, and not in that flushed, ful­filled man­ner;

DE­CEM­BER 2015 more in the I-need-to-sleep­for-a-week way. Christ­mas/ Han­nukah/fes­tivus what­ever hol­i­day we cel­e­brate, hon­estly, loses mean­ing when all we’re do­ing is go­ing through the mo­tions, but who can really blame us? There are so many rea­sons why we fake it. Some peo­ple do it to get ahead. Oth­ers do it to build or main­tain some pub­lic im­age. Other peo­ple do it just to keep the peace, be­cause Lord knows one snarky re­sponse to your older cousin’s feigned con­cern over your dead-end job might make lolo go into car­diac ar­rest. But does do­ing all th­ese things or buy­ing and get­ting all th­ese presents make us truly joy­ful?

I’m not the most re­li­gious per­son, so Christ­mas for me isn’t nec­es­sar­ily about the Sim­bang­gabi or that Ad­vent wreath whose mean­ing I’d for­got­ten since grade school. Nei­ther am I that so­cial but­ter­fly who has a glam­orous, fes­tive, sparkly event to at­tend ev­ery night of the week. What the hol­i­days are to me, and what it prob­a­bly started as for many, is a yearly op­por­tu­nity to show the peo­ple you love, the peo­ple who’ve been with you through the good times and the rough patches, how much they mat­ter and how much you ap­pre­ci­ate them—with or with­out gifts. What’s the point, af­ter all, of stress­ing about what to wear to that party you’re dread­ing, or pos­si­bly go­ing into credit card debt for all your gifts if it’s not really putting the “happy” in “Happy Hol­i­days”?

“We fake it to get ahead, to build a pub­lic im­age, or just to keep the PEACE.”


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