Reminiscing childhood Christmas at 70

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

EVERY time I find myself just a week before Christmas day, I cannot but feel nostalgic about how Christmas was in my childhood (1-7) years. 

After all, Christmas is the season of the year reserved exclusively for children’s enjoyment and celebration. It beats birthday celebrations of kids because all the children in the family, in the community are expected to take the center stage in all families’ lives.

I was once one of the children that felt the excitement that usually began 15 days away before Christmas. The setting up and crowning of the Christmas tree with blinking colored lights in our living room was enough to set my mind in orbit, imagining what Santa Claus had in mind for me each year.

Yes, I was a big fan of Santa Claus! How could one not be? I was told that gifts will be flown to our house by big man white bearded Santa at midnight. Even just the thought that Santa would be in all our neighbors’ houses at the stroke of midnight always made me wonder if he will be late for my gifts. And since our house didn’t have a chimney, I was very sure he would slip in through one of our windows, any window except in the room that I shared with my four sisters.

Our parents usually woke us up around 1 a.m. to tell us that Santa had arrived but left hurriedly. That part I easily understood why… he had to deliver a hundred and one gifts to the neighborhood. My sisters and I would race to tear up the wrappers like mad… then just as quickly, we are ushered back to our rooms with our toys from Santa in hand, and placed beside our pillows.

Reminiscing those days told me I had a happy childhood, thanks to Papa and Mama.

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Then, I rued the day I was told the ‘truth’ that Santa would only deliver gifts to kids who were younger than 7 years old.  I thought he was being unfair. But what was carefully scripted to keep my fantasy was for me and my sisters was to continue writing to Santa about toys we wanted so he can tell our parents to get them for us.  Neat, huh?

Somehow, I always got what I wished for but only after some ‘guidance’ from Mama which toy Santa would really, really want to give us. That was the trick.

That fantasy finally ended when I was seeing the same toys that other boys were having… and they didn’t believe in Santa.

At that point in my life, I felt my innocent childhood days were over.

At 70 today, I’d smile at myself at how funnily naïve I was, and I wonder how many of today’s kids were happily naïve as I was then.

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Here’s a suggestion to families who need to try another way to give in to out -of-tune bara-bara caroling on the streets and by the road by children.

Go shopping for them. Buy mini packs of candies and biscuits and share those goodies instead of dipping into your pockets for loose change each time. By sharing food, you don’t face the risk of being labeled as kuripot behind your back (or in front of you) for handing out several P1 coins.

Besides, there is no rule in the world that says caroling should be rewarded with cash. Forget the law that says caroling is illegal, just share, don’t be a Scrooge!!

Merry Christmas PUNCHERS!

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