Friday, January 12, 2007

Christmas in Pasay

Boring holiday , man!
I don’t know when it started, but Christmas with my father’s side of the family has always been a bit weird. There’s a reunion and lots of food and all but we do NOT open our gifts on Christmas Day! I think it was started by one of my uncles. He probably decreed that he wouldn’t be able to get his salary till the end of the month and so everyone else should also give their gifts on New Year’s day. It was so exasperating for me as a kid to see all those gifts bearing my name but I couldn’t even open on Christmas Day! I had to wait for a whole week while all the normal kids would be playing with their toys! Fortunately, ma and pa let us open their gifts to us but we’d always sneak a disgruntled glance at the shiny pile of boxes in the corner.
Naturally, this practice put a damper on the holiday and made New Year’s day seem like a more important celebration which really messed us up. Eventually, the other families started to wise up that there would be no toys given out on xmas so people who actually came to the reunion got fewer and fewer and the result was a rather corny xmas for kids.
New Year’s day meanwhile was a big event at the Rodriguez house. Aside from the opening of the gifts, there were raffles and paagaw (where my aunts would toss lots of coins in the air and we’d scramble to get as many as we could) Lately, however, even that event was getting a bit lackluster. Maybe it was because we weren’t as rich as before, or maybe because of some family drama, or the migration of some of our loved ones. But this year , I thought, should be fun again. I remembered how Tito Rene, who had just come home from Saudi then, enticed us to sing by promising a cash prize to the winner. So, I brought our dvd player which had a karaoke function and told my sister that there’d be a P500 prize for whoever would get the highest score. I had to go to work that day but my mom said it was one of the most fun holidays in years!

Like every typical Filipino family, ours loved singing! It lasted all the way to dinner time! That dvd player was worth every penny!
It’s really too bad I had to go to work. I missed some funny scenes. Usually, the kids get wrapped gifts. The teens get cash. When you graduate and start working, you stop getting gifts and it’s your turn to start giving. My cousin Arvin was giving out money to the kids in line when his daughter Anjeline cried out “Daddy tama na! Mauubos na pera natin!” (Stop Dad! We’re going to run out of money!) Another year, an older cousin didn’t have time to buy toys for the kids and gave away cash. His 2-year-old nephew, Angelo, didn’t know what money was and with a face filled with all the disdain an infant could muster, threw the bills back at my Kuya Monching!

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