by Nikole Elli | November 27, 2021
Days are inching towards December again and our surroundings make that apparent. Malls are putting up their festive lights, Christmas trees, and of course, groceries are yet again in their fullest swing. Lines are long. Mall counters are bleeping in chorus as if playing a dated Christmas song. And truthfully, most Filipinos look forward to this season. With the longer romantic nights and the promise of coming homes await, who wouldn’t? Still, for some souls, it’s bland and lonely.
Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, it was definitely lonelier for some. While most families crammed inside their homes due to canceled trips, the unlucky few had to endure the holidays shoved in their rooms all alone. There was nothing to look forward to.
Stores closed for the night’s celebration even at midday and deliveries were off before five in the afternoon. Personally, I was busy preparing for the night’s family party but in my mind, the tab of reminders remained open. For the first time, I had thought of surprising a friend on Christmas Eve. A little coffee would perhaps lighten his mood. He was miles away from home. We hadn’t seen each other for three or four years, except for a few video calls or Zoom calls.
He was not an avid fan of the Christmas season, the exact opposite of me. Christmases faded and folded like normal days for him and he had all the valid reasons to feel that way. But that year, at least, I wanted to stir his emotions a bit… so that for once in his life, he would have something special to look forward to.
Truthfully, it wasn’t much of a surprise on his end. I couldn’t just instruct the delivery rider that I was waiting for him at the doorstep. Instead, I had to message my friend that the food and the delivery rider awaited him at their gate. Unsure if he’d like the package, I even apologized. The initial store was not on this certain delivery app so I had to choose another one. Fortunately, though, it reminded him of a certain memory we both shared back in high school (which made it better, I guess).
We never talked about it much except for a few “thank yous” and “no problems”. Our friendship isn’t decorated in words just as any low-maintenance friendship would be, so it wasn’t an issue. But to this day, I still hope he felt less alone that night, in his warm blankets, enjoying the sweet drink and dessert I had sent.
It won’t be any different this year. Some will still be alone on Christmas. The Holidays may be beautifully laced in the brightest lights, with the company of family and friends. And while it feels soothing to be with the ones we love, may we share the love and warmth with someone else this Christmas.
This year, not everyone will have sumptuous food on the dinner table. Some will be late for the night’s celebration, in hopes to earn extra money. Others may dread the suffocating feeling during family dinners when relatives do their “annual rundown” of every cousin’s achievements. While others, heartbreakingly, shall spend the night praying, bodies strapped unto machines and skin pierced by needles.
No rulebook has ever listed how to make others happy in seasons when it may be tough to put on a joyful mood. Sometimes, being there is enough. Share the silence with them and let hours trickle slowly in the comfort of each other’s presence. Hopefully, somehow, may this effort turn blue Christmases into happier ones.