Mahrose, my co-English editor, freaked out this morning when the ladies at the department store were greeting her "Merry Christmas po, ma'am!" like it were the only time of the year that makes them extra cheerful. Just you wait until they receive their bonuses. They'd be dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh in no time.
If anything, this goes to show how commercialized Christmas has become, with malls all ready to bring out their fineries and "SALE" items from two seasons ago to attrack more shoppers. And in the spirit of gift giving, we all end up getting caught in the mad rush to make people in our list happy.
Hey, i'm no Scrooge. In fact, I love Christmas time. It's the only year when the house puts on stringed pearls and trimmings, and when hams and that much-maligned fruitcakes become part of daily fare. I said daily because hams are now so ordinary that even companies give them out yearly during Christmas parties hence you end up having excess ham (of the watery kind) that you have to eat everything fast before they start clogging your freezer.
Two years ago, we received a ham and a plastic bucket of Del Monte goodies each from our office. After careful inspection, half of the bucket was shredded paper and the rest were tipid packs of sauces, etc. Needless to say, there were lots of grumblings to go around. Last year, in the spirit of belt tightening, we were issued company jackets, none of which are being worn to this day. Wait, why am i complaining?
Re hams, what I find amusing is that "pasikat" factor where households compare where they outsource their hams, etc. as if traditions still matter in this crazy metropolis. Well, thank goodness it still does. When my Mom was still working in Bukidnon where she had the privilege of having a great cook (now retired in Bohol), she'd bring home an entire ham leg that boiled was in San Miguel beer, Sprite and pineapple juice (Del Monte, of course) for hours on end. I was still a kid then and my idea of hams was nothing close to what they sell in the malls now.
Speaking of hams, we ordered ours two years ago from a neighbor who made the darkest morcon i've ever seen. They cook the hams themselves and good thing they're really good at it but since they stopped doing it last year, we decided to forgo of the ham tradition. This year, I might decide to get it from Excelente in Quiapo - for the very 1st time - as early as this month before all hell breaks loose on price control.
As to gift giving, I haven't really been very good in this deparment. My memory of gifts dates way back to my public school days when everyone woould end up getting the same thing: bath soaps, face towels, or horrors - that ubiquitous photo frame.
My dilemma would be what to give to female members of the family as male members hardly give to - or receive anything from - other male family members. Four years ago, I gave out scarves. To one niece, a plump pillow featuring her favorite Harry Potter characters. Last year, I didn't give out anything at all, including my Mom (I think). It must have been a premonition of bad things yet to happen, all of which came true only last January. Last year, I helped Mom wrap over 40 gift packs for her office mates. We'd go crazy thinking what to give that's not the usual, something useful, etc. She does it every year. Sadly, that wouldn't be the case this year.
Three things to my friends & readers: 1.) Please do not forward me Christmas messages UNTIL Christmas Day. 2.) If you don't like your fruitcakes, you know where to dump them. My home address and cellphone number can be had upon request. Thank you. 3.) I will have to shun gifts this year. No, really. Your presence and support are already gifts to last us a lifetime.