Pena: Happy Holidays…again?

HERE we go again. While entering the department store of SM Clark last Tuesday, I was greeted “happy holidays” by the two guards on duty. I was irked so I replied in a loud voice, Merry Christmas! As I moved on, I overheard the two guards discussing my reaction to their greetings.

As a Christian, I don’t agree with that “generic” holiday greeting. I had the same experience three years ago in SM Baguio with a saleslady. It’s Christmas, so why not say Merry Christmas? Why take Christ out of the celebration?

I presume that they chose this “neutral” greeting to avoid hurting the sensitivities of non-Christians or those who do not believe in Christmas. They don’t want to “discriminate”. It’s bad for their business. If so, how come they have Catholic Masses during Sundays? Why don’t they have worship services for others too?


Last Wednesday we had our office mini-Christmas party at Buffet 101 at SM Clark. There was no available parking space near the restaurant except those intended for “valet” service. However, as I approach the “valet” desk the staff signaled that there are no vacant parking lots available.

I had no choice but to go the other side of the mall to look for parking spaces near the main mall entrance to minimize the long walk to the restaurant. To my surprise, a big part of the parking lot was also converted into “valet” parking, and there were many vacant spaces. I was in a hurry so I paid the hundred peso “valet” parking fee.

Which made me think. Valet, in the real sense of the word, means the attendant parks and retrieves patrons’ vehicles. SM’s so called “valet” parking is not actually valet but an expensive parking. If it were, the attendant near the buffet restaurant could have taken my car and parked it on the other side of the mall where there is space, and retrieve it for me afterwards. That’s the reason why you pay extra. You park for convenience.

So SM Clark, please stop calling it “valet” service. It is not. Just call it expensive parking. It’s not even secured. On my way out, the attendant did not bother to check if I have a parking receipt.


In today’s digital world, is the traditional Christmas card still relevant? About two years ago, I read an article which says that some millennials still prefer receiving traditional Christmas cards over electronic cards. Why? Because traditional cards require more time and effort to prepare.

A 2015 TIME article claimed that despite “the world’s digital tilt” the card industry is still thriving because e-cards or e-mails don’t carry “the same emotional weight.” Traditional cards are more personal. It has your penmanship, signature and personal message.

So this Christmas, give something personal. Not just cards. Anything that you personally prepare like food. It has more meaning. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!


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