The holiday season varies in different parts of the world with many traditions probably similar to your own, and others very different. In my country, here in Philippines, during this season, my family , relatives and friends always have a reunion to be remembered. However, time comes when clash and misunderstanding between families start. It is inevitable and part of life. And still no matter what happened, we're family. 

 To some, Christmas can seem like a Norman Rockwell's painting of Jimmy Stewart and Clarence the angel but that's just what people want you to think. I know the truth. I've been in the trenches of the war of Christmas. I've walked through the emotional mine fields. And I'm here to report back on some of the hottest spots in a war that has been raging far as long as anyone can remember. First, the Decorations- As Christmas approaches, one of the first battlefields is the front yard. On one side, are those who opt for light with enough voltage to be seen from Santa's sleigh. On the other side, are those without prefer that Christmas be understated and elegant; a wreath on the front door and a single white candle in every window. Could Santa find this house from the stratosphere? On this issue, compromise is not possible and the battle rages. Second, the Tree- fake and charmless ...or real?or a total mess? a star at the top or an angel? ;#3- The meal, What should we prepare? ; #4-The gifts, when it comes to it,it's not about what you get,but what you give and to some,how you give it. These are the Christmas battle every family wages each year.

 I remembered in the passed years , my aunties from Bahrain and Canada never failed to have a vacation here during holidays. It was Christmas Day,auntie Therese and auntie Rose bought us 4 big boxes full of presents, chocolates and many more...

 " Yip eee!! I have a new shoes and I love it, thanks auntie." I was jumping like it was the last day and tomorrow will never come. 

 " Oh ! yes, my dream iPhone is here!" My youngest brother nudge me as he run with joy.

 " Hey, dude! take care of that it comes from blood, sweat and tears of auntie Therese." my piece of advice to him.

 " Yes sister, I know right; thanks auntie."

 " You're welcome Albert, how I wish that it will last until next year."

 " No worries, auntie I will handle it with care."

 As I saw from them, all of my cousins, two brothers are very ecstatic in opening their gifts. On the side of our Christmas tree is my grandma she was 75 years old and happy seeing her grandchildren. She has seven siblings. How big our family is ! ; that day we're in one roof. She is the queen of the house. What I love most,she is lovable ,caring and one of a kind. On that age, she can do everything, one thing that marks on my mind the word of love and wisdom she kept on telling.

 "I may not be rich and famous but I have a priceless grandchildren." and it softens my heart.

 I was holding at my back my gift for her, a Christmas card. I was shy in giving it to her. It was a cheap gift because I saw her holding an extravagant gifts to my other cousins.

 "Sis ,when you will going to give that?"Albert asked.

 "Hmm.. Maybe later."

 " Why later I'm here." I was shocked that grandma is at our back.

  "Ma, Erica is afraid in giving you such that gift."auntie Rose interrupted.

  " Christmas cards are more precious than anything else." grandma retorted.

Grandma is right, what's wrong with it, anyway there's no greater gift is there than love.

  " Guys time to eat!"auntie Evy called us.

 The aroma of the food is wafted in all corners of the house. We're busy about in our imported gifts and we forget that we're all hungry.

On the table...

  "Thank you Lord for the gifts and the blessings we received...."auntie Celine leads the prayer.

 " Wow yummy!!"my cousin Jewel said 

  "Attack!!"Bernard shouted then laughed.

 We love to eat and what could we're waiting for Christmas, more fun than with a mouthwatering buffet spread? Tapenade highlights a decadent buffet selection of Mediterranean dishes. This Christmas eve, our hearty noche Buena dinner buffet showcases a selection of antipasti, home made oven- baked pizzas, roasted pork ,sweet Italian sausage Casarecce complemented perfectly by tempting desserts. All of them prepared by grandma and auntie Evy. 

 That's what Filipinos are, fond of eating together with their loved ones. And I'm proud of what we are.

After 3 years....

 It is a starry night I'm gazing at the stars at my glass window while sitting comfortably on a chair.Holiday season is fast approaching that's why I am writing on my journal about the things happened for the past years, and last Christmas without grandma. 3 years ago, she died and many things happened to our family. Reminiscing the moments we had in the past Christmas together with my grandma, families and relatives recurred in my imagination. Why I am doing this? Maybe because, those memories were fading but I'm not lost with that. After my grandma died, the essence of Christmas was obliterated. We're in a grave state most especially auntie Therese that all of her entire life missed some moments with her mother. She only visited us when Christmas time. I saw the intense events happened at burial..

   "What the hell you do,what happened to mama, I gave all you need and my only favor is to watch her and take care of her."auntie Therese shouted while yelping ,as she pointing her brothers and sisters.

  "Therese,accept what happened. No one likes this! If you hurt, we also." 

  "Rose is right, we did the best we can but mama gives up, uncle Ronald said with a hoarse voice.

  Well, I can't judge anyone of them and I understand what auntie Therese felt on that day. She is the youngest and worked for 11years in Bahrain. All hurts and pain in working abroad are for the goods of everyone. Her brothers and sisters already had a family.Auntie Evy has no work, she has a daughter and my mother doesn't complied a college degree. That's why she became the breadwinner in our family.

  After that, my mother,brothers and I decided to stand with our own without asking any help to avoid clashes.

  "....Some people live their dreams..."my tablet rings. An incoming call from my mom. 

  "Erica,dear,what are you doing?"

  "I am writing...mom will you come?"

  " I'm sorry I cannot make it."

  " I miss you.."

  " I missed the moment we had on Christmas." Albert interrupted as he entered in my room room.

  " Yeah,dear, me too...I miss those moment, where is your brother?"

  " He's in his wife. "

  " What do you like for Christmas darlings?"

  " Your presence", Albert replied.

 Video chatting is our routine every night. My mom work in California as a hotel receptionist for almost two years . Two years without family reunions. Auntie Therese and my other family relatives, communicating with us through video chatting. Auntie Therese has a family too. Every Christmas our tradition is now through video calls. It's really different from the past three years. But then we adopted ourselves in this situation because life must go on... Maybe someday ,we will go back to our old tradition that grandma has been started. How I wish in the future, the wounds will heal from our hearts and reunited again as one.

Even though mom will not come on this Christmas, my brothers and I will enjoy it by joining to the throngs of people of all ages, up and awake at the crack of dawn to attend the rooster masses starting on December 16 and ending on the midnight of December 24 . It is a common belief that if you complete all nine masses whatever wish you've made during this season will be granted. Shimmering lights a festive flurry, and an abundance of celebrations left and right, chatting with friends reminds us that Christmas is always be in our hearts whatever it takes. After that, we will call mom and tell to her the things we had made.

 Not everyone gets the Christmas they, want but everyone gets the Christmas they deserve

   Happy Holidays!!

November 27, 2020 06:34

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Salma Jarir
18:52 Jan 28, 2021

Nice story!!!!👏


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Avani G
16:33 Jan 08, 2021

Nice story, Ricabie! I liked the message here! I didn't get to spend Christmas with family and friends like usual because of the Pandemic, so this was a nice little story to come back to! Good job!


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Philip Clayberg
20:28 Jan 05, 2021

This was a really nice story. It definitely made it feel like I had spent Christmas over the years in the Philippines. Thank you for writing it. I hope that you continue to write stories all during 2021 and in the years ahead. However, I'm sorry for pointing out so many problems in your story. There would've been more had I pointed out the other mistakes (mostly punctuation) that I noticed. I think that English might not be your native language, which would account for many (if not all) of the mistakes. Please see my editing comments ...


Ricabie Gabriela
15:55 Jan 08, 2021

Thanks for your comments..I will do better next time..This is my first time in writing..


Philip Clayberg
06:01 Feb 13, 2021

You're welcome. We all have to start somewhere. I'm 53 1/2 years old, so it's taken me this long to get to where I am, writing-wise and editing-wise. Hopefully, it won't take other writers on this website that long to become good writers and editors. I think you'll do just fine. Please remember that my editing comments are suggestions, not like military orders that you have to obey. You don't have to rewrite to match what I suggested. However, if my suggestions give you ideas how to rewrite *your* way instead of *my* way, then good. ...


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