13th month pay…
Horrendous traffic everywhere…
Midnight sale…
Long lines of people at payment centers…
Parties and dinners left and right…

Yep…the Christmas season is definitely here and so is every good and bad that goes with the holidays. I shuffled between Manila and Pampanga last week and it was downright tiring and exhausting. At one point, it was a nightmare. Traffic was really bad at any given time and at any given point. This is one reason why I get frustrated with how we celebrate the yuletide season.

I am in no way a Grinch…I love Christmas. I always look forward to the season of gifts, dinners, and reunions. I think every kid and those kids at heart look forward to the Christmas season. I grew up believing that Santa Claus existed and that I did try to keep myself awake on Christmas Eve hoping to catch him bringing me my gifts. You guessed it…I never met the real Santa. Why? Let us just say that I just didn’t get the right time to catch up with him.

I asked 31 individuals the question on whether they were made to believe that Santa existed when they were kids and 25 or 81% of my respondents said yes. This was not a surprise as Santa Claus has always been part of the yuletide celebration. I guess the guy, with his red suit, is just one of the more recognizable icons associated with Christmas. His gift giving behavior to kids teaches us a lot about giving – it is always nice to give.

Giving a gift to someone says more about the person rather than the item given. The act of giving speaks of how a person made an impact to the giver and how the giver appreciates and values the person to whom the gift is given to. The gift is a token of value – the value of friendship worth remembering and taking the effort to put it into something tangible. We should learn to appreciate that out of a long list of friends and acquaintances, you were singled out to receive a token of friendship from the giver. It is really the thought that counts.

Giving also entails giving a part of oneself for the one giving. When we give something, it includes giving a part of us – our thoughts and our feelings. I still believe that a careful thought process goes into gift giving. One chooses a gift that he or she feels would be of use to the person or something that complements the personality of the person hence it entails a great deal of knowledge about the person to whom the gift will be given to. When we give, it shows how much we know about the person.

That is why Santa is introduced to many, including us, at a very young age for us to understand that in gift giving, it is the thought that really counts more than the gift received. Remember that we have always found joy in receiving any gift from Santa, regardless whether he followed our wishlist or not. It is the thought that he gave us something for our good deeds that really matters. A very nice way to teach the kids the idea about giving.

There is a Santa in all of us. I believe that it is innate in everyone to give and it is just a matter of who and what to give that is to be determined. Others may give generously while some may give to only a few but that does not diminish the true value of giving. It is the holiday of gift giving – a time where most give and receive. I challenge you to be a Santa to someone today. Share that gift of hope to someone – a small start to make this world a better place.

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Rave: I was browsing through the national dailies and saw a picture that depicted an inspiration that the Typhoon Pablo victims will rise again. It makes me proud to be a Filipino when we all gather together to help our fellows at a trying time like this. Resiliency is one strong trait of Filipinos – no matter what calamity hits us, our spirits will never falter.

Rant: Talking about airports, I brought my mom to the NAIA Terminal 1 for her return trip to the US. It is no wonder why it is considered one of the worst airports in the world. It was complete chaos outside with the traffic and poor parking services. The Php35 parking fee was a complete rip off for the bad service. The government should really focus on improving the state of NAIA, the country’s premier gateway.

Rave: Talking about Pinoy Pride – there are only two things that make the Philippines stop at a standstill…Manny Pacquio’s fights and the Miss Universe. The country was at a standstill last December 20 as the Filipina delegate, Janine Tugonon, sashayed her way on stage to finish second in this year’s pageant. You know the reason why Filipinos were on a standstill – both events put the country in the international limelight scene.

Rant: Just read from the news that a four hundred year old church was destroyed by fire in Camarines. A sad news for those who love history like me. I hope that local governments should check on the state of heritage sites and the safety of which so that we can prevent the destruction of these sites.

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