Of course, this is the merry season. And we, perhaps, will not help but to beam with unfettered giggliness and giddiness and joyfulness. The lights are all set, at the onset of December, at the death of November, at the time when tv stations are premiering their Christmas station ids. Sales are occupying the malls, the tiangges ans commercial bazaars; first, reminding us that ‘tis is the season for shopping, for spending, for expressing our love and gratitude to everyone who has made our year a happy one, as if to glorify the idea of spending for gifts at the big businesses’ favor. We all know the hidden message: capitalism and its evils still lurk, and more notable so during this season. But who cares? That is part of the Christmas tradition.
Corona strikes back and Mindanao got hit by the storm, this time reminding us that this is not picture perfect a season. Gloria remains in jail, but with duly accorded amenities, thanks to her status as policy-maker and being the erstwhile president. Again, we know these, we very well know these, and news clips should only serve as reminders: the sick out of the world continues even if it’s Christmas time.
Always, this is a fitting ending for the year, usually capped by the welcoming of a new year with roar and fireworks and kitchen utensils-turned-pampaingay. All gloominess, all depressions, al failures and sense of shame brought by the previous 11 months, leave them all, happily, with a gorgeous smile, without a heavy heart. Christmas will purge them all, bring them into oblivion, turn them into stone just like all the heroes after their heroics. What a way to end the year, and start the succeeding one.
Academics will most probably try to distance themselves from the merriness, eluding emotion and joy by writing treatises, proving to the world and to themselves that their sort of cynicism about the holidays is a well-justified one by researching on the origin of this event and analyzing them as tied to networks of power and domination. That this is Christianity attempting to firm its grip on its automatic minions, the church-goers, the rosary-holders. That this is capitalism’s most shining moment, reeking million after million, thanks to the high demand for new stilettos, round fruits, ham and pla pla and sinturon ni hudas, new bags, items to give in exchange gifts, books and gadgets, cards and mugs, leathers and kilos of meat.
The well-offs are trooping to the malls, exploiting Christmas sales, letting themselves be exploited by the so-called system. Canvassing, scrutinizing, ogling at new cars, new ipod models, new iphone features, new ways to spend money, new ways to subconsciously justify that a money-centered society is not bad after all.
The beggars are feasting on left-overs, as usual, only that the left-overs seem to be more special this season: palabok, other pasta, cola and meat, hotdogs and marshmallows. The toiling worker will rejoice more on the non-working holidays than Christmas bonuses, as if they can really take a vacation and working overtime is not tempting for its promise of more pay. Perhaps they will be content, very much content in fact, with some adobo and unusually plenty of rice on the 24th, and some pancit on the 31st. Everyone is spending the holidays with a heightened spirit, however genuine or forced. Point is: it centrifugates on all of us: the tacit command to be merry because that is the point of the season. With money or not, with lots of gifts or not, with luxurious food or not.
In the name of the season, of Christ being born or the mere passing of December 25, let us make this a merry one. Kindness, generosity, empathy, honest tries at equality and humility, they are all the truest, and hence, fakest, at this time. Let us make the most out of it.
Merry Christmas, in-denial cynics.