DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 December) — After a ‘heart to heart’ talk with my DOD this afternoon when he came early from work, I discovered
that we share a somewhat cynical view of Christmas.

Not the entire concept, mind. We do believe in God, but aside from ‘the thought that counts’, Christmastime’s become a hassle about giving and receiving.

It isn’t completely a bad thing. I think it is (and if it isn’t, it should be) a part of the Christmas Spirit to genuinely want to give.

I love receiving; who doesn’t? But it’s a favorite hassle of mine, to sit down with pen, paper, music and a rabbit or a cat to keep company
and come together with a list of names as long as my leg. That would be my Christmas list; I’d stay there for an hour and/or a half (which
is a lot of time, for someone my age) thinking about what sort of gift they’d want from me.

I don’t have any illusions about giving them exactly what they want. I’m not a fairy godmother, nor do I possess any magic power of any
sort, else the world would have ended long before about a year from now. However, I do know that there’s pleasure to be found in receiving
a gift that makes you smile.

I think so much about the gifts I give, that receiving gifts that aren’t well thought out. Even if people are just obligated to, like the extended family and ex ‘best friends forever’, I’d rather not receive a gift at all. In fact, the thought is so much better than the disappointment at getting a gift you don’t like. I’d rather have a bare tree than a room full of things that just take up space and collect dust, and to know that I’ve saved people from wasting money and something hard to appreciate.

However, mum would be one of the many to first volunteer my kind (at times) heart, and knows that I genuinely try to find use and good in what I get. ‘It’s the thought that counts’ – something I go by, but wouldn’t advocate.

I find more satisfaction in giving, anyways.

I mean to stress that there’s so much backlog of junk and waste we acquire during Christmastime. Among the material stuff, there are unwanted gifts. Shoes that never fit, pajamas, that flamboyant dress shirt with the atrocious colouring and awful cut that finds itself at the bottom of your closet, because it’s too noticeable to be in the trash can, too hideous to give away, and too new to use as a rag.

There’s also the insubstantial junk.

Personal issues, pet peeves, the unresolved, bad memories better left to auld langsyne. They trouble everybody. It could be different, it could be the same, but since no one was unfortunate enough to have been plagued with mind-reading, there’s no way of knowing.

Excess Christmas wishes that never came true and/or have been rendered useless, good thoughts and blessings we couldn’t use, prayers even.
Like concrete blessings, we have to find a way to get them to God.

The majority of us haven’t met anyone who’s seen a vision of God that would satisfy the skeptics and all the nonbelievers (the plans that they have made…), so we do the next best thing; we give to the people who need them more.

The CLE (Christian Life Education) teachers in Ateneo preach the same thing, albeit in a different form, every year, to first graders and
freshmen. It would be that God is in everything, and we need to see that.

God would therefore be in the people around us, friends, family members and even complete strangers. We’ve all known the taste of giving concrete things. Donating things, full scale relief drives, Christmas Package Drives, even the simple act of going out of your way to offer leftovers to a small child directing parallel parkers outside McDonald’s.  But when was the last time you offered a wish?

This Christmas, I vote that we offer every thought, idea, sacrifice, wish, blessing, prayers, anything we can to those who need it more. I
vote we give our Christmas wishes and New Year’s Resolutions to the kids living in the street, the victims of Sendong, the people who’ve
lost and those who didn’t have much to begin with.

I’ll start. “God, I know I may not have done much to deserve a wish this Christmas…” (Sage Danielle T. Ilagan, 14, is a sophomore at the
Ateneo High School.)