An Un-Christmas Post

When I was about 10 years old growing back home in Pinas, I always wondered how Santa Claus managed to sneak into our home on Christmas Eve to deliver my wish list. Santa was spot on too. He never erred in providing the stuff we eyeballed at our window shopping trip at the nearby city a week or two before Christmas Day. Being the curious cat I spied on my aunt who I discovered was tasked to procure the gifts that me and my siblings wanted. No wonder why she always seemed to know what Santa can and can’t give 😉 One day I revealed to my siblings what I felt, that Santa wasn’t real and our parents were the real Santa. Despite being the eldest, I didn’t gain any converts. When we all woke up that Christmas Day, all my siblings had their gifts by the tree delivered by Santa. Mine was nowhere to be found. Sensing that I was about to cry, my auntie told me to look around the house as Santa might have misplaced my presents. Alas, I found my presents in the kitchen area, near the garbage bin. My parents warned me that Santa was upset with me because I questioned his existence and if I continued to disbelieve he may not come the next year. Heck, I was interested in the presents more than anything so I shut my mouth.

Last week my daughter told her friend, ” since Santa never gave you an American Girl doll maybe you can leave your wish letter at our Christmas tree. You see Santa gave me one two years ago.” I interjected – ” Not quite girl. Santa only gives the gifts directly to the requester’s home not elsewhere. That is Santa’s golden rule.” 😉 But come to think of it, with the proliferation of the internet nowadays, googling ” is Santa real ? ” could just be a few keystrokes away isn’t it ? I tried and found a slew of fuzzy answers ranging from no, yes, well it depends, maybe but, and what not. Unless young kids venture into the more complex encyclopedic websites , which could be way beyond their league in terms of comprehension, doesn’t seem capable of giving a definitive answer.
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In a few days from now it will be Christmas Day and the usual excitement of the dinner with loved ones and friends is in the air. I’m one person who is more thrilled watching my loved ones open their gifts, seeing the joy in their faces. In these times of recession survey show that people would be spending less but that’s not what you feel when you visit the malls. Parties at the office are no longer the usual dinner dance at posh hotels. We had quite a few parties at the office but the one I most enjoyed was our departmental party where we took possession of our company cafeteria one late Friday afternoon and dined, drank, exchanged gifts and sang karaoke until our throats went dry. The highlight of our party was the spectacle of me and my two other Pinoy co-workers eating the balut. We made sure it was at dessert time and not during dinner so people could continue eating. 🙂 As expected, the reactions were mixed. Some were intrigued at how it tasted while others, reminiscent of that Fear Factor balut eating episode, were grossed out. A Caucasian colleague swore she would only eat it if it was a choice between having sex with King Kong. 😆

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Post Christmas Blues

santa_after_boxOnce the all the Christmas parties are over and done with, a respite from the rather strenuous holiday comes in form of a brief lull until the New Year’s celebration. The house is in a bit of disarray – garbage bags of boxes and gift wrap paper need to be recycled, fridge smacking full of left over food, car oil change schedule missed, and darn we worry about our diet which had been deferred until the season is over. It’s time to get back to routine things that were postponed all because of Christmas. There’s a sense of relief that big day is over but then there’s the anxiety on the ton-load of things to do 😯

When you think that the day after Christmas you can loaf around, it is not the case in this country. Dec 26th is Boxing Day, a statutory holiday and this is not to say that we spend the whole day watching boxing matches on TV – I wish we did 🙂 Boxing day is the day when prices of goods fall off from the cliff, a much anticipated day for people to shop and haggle with stores especially for big ticket items. It is a rather hectic day for some when they have to queue up early morning hours for the appliance stores to open before the stock runs out. If your wallet got burned with Christmas, it’ll be charred by Boxing Day if you’re not careful. Having said so, I did buy my large screen HDTV on a Boxing Day and boy it was a real sweet deal. This time, I’ve opted not to visit a store on Boxing Day. The bad news is Boxing Day prices last until New Year’s day. 😦

santaOne FM radio station here plays the yuletide carols ad free all day on Christmas Day since carols are are slowly taken off the air after Dec 25th. Maybe it’s just me but have you noticed the sudden surge of big name artists cutting Christmas albums lately? I don’t mind listening to Hall and Oates singing Jingle Bell Rock but James Taylor singing Santa Claus Is Coming to Town is kind of odd. He sounds like a drunken octogenarian peeing in the bushes, murmuring to the goblins to duck his pee. Michael Bolton singing White Christmas grunting and frowning like tacks are piercing his butt can cause depression to the weak hearted. Absolutely no comparison to the original Bing Crosby version. I was a bit shocked to hear Willie Nelson sing O Little Town of Bethlehem. It’s a rather solemn song fitting a church choir setting and Willie’s country style, mousy sounding pitch didn’t quite do justice to the song. Like it or not – time to say bye bye to the carols. Not in Pinas though. Last time I came home for vacation – the last week of Jan, the Little Drummer Boy was still playing his drums at the NAIA airport speakers 🙂

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santasee022ea12a2When I think of Christmas, pictures of happy and giggling children inevitably comes to mind because frankly there are no happier human beings than children during the yuletide season. It isn’t hard to draw this conclusion because once upon a time I was a kid myself. Christmas time was like living in Disneyland – carols, food, gifts and abundance of good things made the atmosphere so. It was almost like a time warp, where time pauses and a Shangrila-like world rushes in .

santa3aThere was a time when I questioned the existence of Santa Claus and my parents punished me for being such a brat, for trying to convince my siblings that the fat man and his reindeers were a hoax. When we woke up early one Christmas morning , I couldn’t find my gifts ! Looked like Santa was upset, ignored my letter inside the stocking and totally passed up on me. My world crumbled. 😦 My aunt then told me ” maybe you should look around more. Santa may have placed your gifts somewhere , not by the Christmas tree”. I ventured into the kitchen area and lo and behold, the gifts were there just beside the garbage bin. Such was my lesson for being an imp and I stopped berating the fat guy after that. 🙂

candle21aAs we age, the meaning of Christmas transcends beyond the jovial celebrations, with a much deeper and symbolic meaning. Sometimes I just frown upon people trying to be too politically correct with the adamance to say Merry Christmas. I see no malice in wishing happiness on someone. I just hope people don’t go too far and start dropping the fat man from the list because SANTA could also be spelled SATAN 😯 These buffoons may celebrate Christmas eve at the laundromat washing their dirty linens but that won’t stop me from wishing them Merry Christmas. 🙂



We all look forward to a jolly holiday and sometimes get too rambunctious celebrating the season. Be careful – don’t drink and drive. It is fine to go to the pub and have a pint or two but get a designated driver. More importantly, be wary of picking up a stranger ! 😆

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The Party Season

images1In these tough economic times, salaries and bonuses are likely to be trimmed severely, especially those companies that are struggling to make a profit or those desperately trying to improve their balance sheets. Company Christmas parties have been shelved, at least for this year to save expenses. Our company is no exception. Every year we hold a Christmas dinner dance at a first class hotel but this year, it is cancelled. Now several groups within our company are organizing Christmas parties and I have been invited to four of them ! The bad news is, the revelers have to foot the bill so every attendee must contribute money 🙂 Dang, 4 parties is too much for me to attend, let alone the availability of time but I decided to attend two parties – my own department’s party and our division party.

Our business partners also invite us to parties organized for their customers like us. One account rep had been calling me up to confirm my attendance at their Christmas bash. Last Friday I received an email from him informing me that the party had been cancelled. Yikes, that was a bit embarassing don’t you think? Before you circulate invitations, you bloody make sure that you work out the finances ! I didn’t bother to ask why the cancellation but clearly it was done haphazardly and in poor taste methinks.

Consumer spending is anticipated to be down this holiday season. But seeing the malls packed these days, I’d be curious to know the decline percentage. Stores have been marking down their items so attractively that as a buyer, you’d wonder if you’ll see these prices after the season. Today I saw a Sergio Leone original DVD pack with 4 of Clint Eastwood’s famous spaghetti western movies for $29 bucks with a voucher of $15 for gas as freebie. How can you possibly beat that? 😉 I’m quite sure more crazy deals are in the offing for those who plan to do their shopping on the 24th 🙂

THE WINNING CAMERA- Canon SD500 Scores a Pacquaio-like Upset

canon1I hate lugging around with a camera bag. Seriously. I’ve been really wanting a small but powerful compact camera, one that I can stick into my pocket and take quality pictures when a photo moment arises. I had been scoping out the Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ5 as my Xmas present to myself but my brain keeps telling me – “you don’t need the darn thing kid. You have a bigger camera and you didn’t even learn all it’s functions yet”. Alright 🙂  Just as I was about to can the whole idea, my craving had been rekindled when the 2008 Global Metro Photo Challenge in Toronto was won by a diminutive point and shoot camera, a Canon SD500 . The theme of the contest was Urban Jungle.  Man, when you think that there were 55,000 entries from all over the world the win is  truly a gargantuan upset.  An aspiring young photographer – totally low budget with his little point and shoot camera and plastic $20 tripod waits for hours to take a shot of the tram car in the early morning hours to create the winning shot. Check the amazing story here.  One heck of a great win really. For his effort the winner gets $2000 cash and a trip to Paris plus a spanking new Nikon 700D camera worth $5,000. Now that is a real dandy camera. You would definitely need a pretty decent knapsack to lug it around 🙂

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