MY Christmas ritual came a bit late. I decorated the facade of our house only this week with star-shaped series lights I bought from this new store in Minglanilla that sells cheap items a-la Unitop. Before that, I bought a camping light in the Unitop branch in Cebu City planning to use it in lieu of series lights to decorate the facade of our house. I got a defective one that couldn’t be turned off. So I went back to the traditional series lights instead.
My wife did her ritual earlier than me, decorating the interior of our house last week yet. She re-installed the Christmas tree and the series lights that were used last year for this year’s celebration. That means the family is ready for Christmas despite the difficult times most Filipinos are in.
The Christmas gifts have also started reaching the SunStar Cebu office from friends and advertisers. We don’t solicit gifts but those who know us send us these anyway, and it would be wrong not to receive them. I won’t name the people who have made it their own ritual to give me Christmas gifts. They know who they are and I thank them for the gesture.
The media everywhere is struggling but that shouldn’t deter us from feeling good during the Christmas season. Filipinos, whether we have money or not always find ways to make the season memorable. We always make do with what we have. I remember the saying often used by my elders about the button and the buttonhole (“butones ug ohales”). If you earn less, then don’t splurge.
Some of my media colleagues will be jobless after the Christmas season, as Cebu will have one local paper less. This is a sad development especially for the print media, which has been hit hard by the advances in technology and the democratization of the distribution of information. There was a time when being in the print media gave me a kind of high. Not these days.
For the past months, I had this feeling that I am now in the wrong profession. When I joined the Cebu media I started off as a broadcaster but eventually realized I was more of a writer than a talker. I was more of a print journalist than a broadcaster. Now, everything seems to be directed online and a print journalist’s survival depends on his or her being able to survive online.
But I digress. Are Christmas lights shining brighter now for the Filipino people in the third Christmas season under the Duterte administration? Those with high hopes that things will change under the Duterte administration may have realized that the more things change the more they stay the same. With the inflation rate hitting some highs, our Christmas celebration now is subdued.
But I don’t usually splurge during Christmas. Spending time with the family has always been my emphasis when it comes to the yuletide season. Meaning, our celebration has always been subdued. Bonding, not going anywhere else, is the focus, especially because of the time my wife and I spend for work, she after all is also connected with the Cebu media.
For my readers, it’s good to reiterate the reminder: “kun gamay ang butones, angay nga gamay sad ang ohales.”