As I See It – What does Christmas mean to me, to us?

Elpidio R. Estioko (Phpoto By FB)

Christmas come and go, but before it goes, we need to enjoy it and give meaning to it!

As a tradition worldwide, Christmas, is the time for people to rejoice, have fun, bond together, reunite, and enjoy each other’s company whatever happens. So, despite the corona virus pandemic and the coming of variants Delta and Omicron, the spirit of Christmas must go on anywhere, everywhere…

It is time for the family to gather and rejoice separated by physical boundaries the world-over. My wife Delia and I have six children and we have been missing them for the past months because they live away from us. Three of them are married and settled on their own in various parts of the globe and our youngest is also living away from us. Two of them are still unmarried and living with us in our Milpitas home.

This year, however, on Christmas day, two of my children are already here on vacation and they will spend their Christmas with us. Tweety and his husband Jonathan, with their 1-year-and-6-month-old daughter Ellie from South Carolina arrived three days ago… with May who went for a two-week vacation to South Carolina. Paul, our youngest from Hawaii, arrived the other day.

Gigi and husband Eric from Sydney, Australia will not be able to join us due to the pandemic travel protocol. We will also miss Jojo with wife Alvi and children Kayla and Bibay from Jacksonville, Florida because of recital and dance engagements of their children for the month of December. Of course, Jayson is with us all the time.

On Christmas day, they will join us via a Zoom Christmas gathering breaking all the physical boundaries that separated us thorough out the year.

While we put up our modest Christmas tree with gifts under it, we always have in mind that gift-giving is just incidental during the holidays. While others say it is the most expensive time of the year with all the gifts under the tree not only for our family members but for relatives, godchildren (inaanak) and friends (BFFs), there are ways to celebrate it the frugal way… and we still retain the Christmas spirit. That is what we did! We wrapped things that the children can use in their daily life and things they need to wear and use most of the time. This is being practical.

We did not buy expensive gifts but bought cheap and useful things that are good the entire year-round. It is the giving that matters… and receiving is just a gesture of thankfulness.

The prevailing spirit this time of the year, even in time of the pandemic, is the joy of giving, where lavish parties or large gatherings are discouraged. While celebrating in an extremely limited way, we still need to wear mask and maintain social distancing to avoid the spread of the virus.

Despite the pandemic, let us enjoy the Christmas season and prepare for the coming New Year! To all our relatives, friends, and acquaintances, we remember you and you are always in our hearts.

Merry Christmas to all our TGU friends Yvonne and Ron San Juan-Sera; Al and Fe Gonzales Sepulveda; Lino and Jennifer Caringal, Jr.; Raei Soliven Escudero; Greta Manaois Ricarte; Rockin Ramil San Juan; Dr. Clare Adalem; Elpidio Angeles, Jr.; Fercima Fernandez Sumera; Dr. Fe Sumera Ranada; Lolay Gozon Celeste; Dado Fabro; Mayor Rammy Parayno 111, and Violeta Cayetano, among others.

To my Batch ’65 high school mates Fe Malagayo Alluri; Rosalinda Tangalin Santos; Minda Ventanilla Tomines; Mely Parayno; Bien Zabala Cordingley; David Sumera; Joweh Sumait; Mar Mateo; Bert Lapena; Cris Ramirez, Jose Corpuz, Ronnie Sabado; Manuel Idos; Judina Cadiente; Gilda Doot Nickel; Greg/Vicky Calacsan; Eufrosenia Tigno; Danny Calacsan; Gus Castillo; Dr. Lorenz Agbanlog; Roger Andrada; Atty. Mario Bravo; Cora Massin Jacob; Amy Labarinto Retirado; Feliciana Sarga; Mila Goroza; Joy delos Reyes; Lolita Rosario; Aggie Pass; Aida Moreno Ambrosio; Eliodoro Calacsan; Leticia Malbog Tria; Gloria Benito; Arsenio Dulay; Del Domagas; and Orly Barrientos.

Happy holidays to my fraternity brothers (Beta Rho Omega Fraternity) Oscar David, Bert Cabardo, Egay Sevilla, Jun Gappe, Bob Bantolo, Willie Osorio, Rody Saez, Joe Galo Isada, Rolly Tungpalan, Gerry David, Mike Soledad, OJ de Jesus, Jun Adraneda, Mario Taruc, Atty. Nick Jimeno, Jovencio Gregorio, Aaron Cervantes, Terry Chentes, Jimmy Austria, Ed Ramos, and Ed Gonzalez; among others.

My good friends former PUP Dean Roman Dannug; Atty. Rudolfo Brillantes; Prof. Lito Roldan; Prof. Susan Roldan; Prof. Jeng Red; Book Author Romy Morales from Anchorage Alaska; and Prof. Joey Alagaran.

To my Milpitas friends Atty. Garry Barbadillo; Mayor Rich Tran; Former Mayor Jose Esteves; Vice Mayor Carmen Montano; Council member Evelyn Chua; and former Assemblymember Kansen Chu. And… to my editors Harvey Barkin, Edwina Aniag, and Gary de Guzman.

What does Christmas mean to me… to us? It means the time for loving, for giving, sharing, reaching out; and bonding… because Christmas knows no boundaries…

Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!