Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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The Meaning of Christmas

When you’re a kid, the days leading up to Christmas are full of wonder and anticipation, and you eagerly await that time when the gifts under the Christmas tree are finally handed out to the recipients and you tear open those packages with such enthusiasm and disregard for the effort put into wrapping it.

As an adult, the days leading up to Christmas are filled up with days of overtime as you struggle to meet year-end targets, constantly having to attend gathering after gathering, and worrying about whether you’ve gotten the right presents for people.

In my case, since people should be well aware by now that I am pretty much an incompetent shopper, they know better than to expect me to get them something nice (if at all). Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly generous. If you ask me for something as a Christmas gift and I could afford it, you would most likely receive from me a gift-wrapped bundle with said gift. But to expect me to be able to think up a gift for you by myself? You would be placing too much faith in me.

The above explains why I’m also hardly excited about Christmas presents anymore – I don’t expect them. People are great in that they give you stuff, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if someone chose not to get me a gift; even someone close to me, like say my parents. Not that they ever fail, mind you. I’m pretty sure every year I get at least one new article of clothing. Which is good because otherwise I’d never get any new clothes at all.

I’m not saying I’m a scrooge by the way. I like Christmas, I still do. But it’s no longer the gifts that I enjoy. It’s the festive mood that it brings out of people. The priest at Mass today that we Filipinos are the best in the world at celebrating Christmas, and that’s a fairly good exhortation. People here _change _in December, even the grumpy ones who don’t particularly like holidays and festivities and socializing (I’m partly guilty of that – I’m no social animal) I think that’s a lot better than presents any day of the week.

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