By Julie Javellana-Santos

For me, the Christmas season officially began when I found myself waking up at dawn and groping around for a blanket. The mornings had suddenly grown cooler. Where before I kicked off all covers, it was all I could do to snuggle into a comforter a few days ago. Needless to say, it took a monumental amount of will to get up and start getting dressed for the day.

For my sisters, the Christmas season began when the malls started playing Christmas carols last September. My sisters call me “Scrooge” because among all of us (we are five), I do not look at the holiday season as vacation time, but rather as a “stressful” time.

When the word Christmas is mentioned, images of endless traffic jams and malls packed with shoppers immediately enter my mind. This particularly affects me because of the many gifts I have to get. Since I was a little girl, my parents had Christmas gifts for everyone around them—the household help, our numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins in the province, and so on and so forth, and this is a tradition I want my own daughters to carry on.

Having been in media most of my life, I always found myself wrapping presents up to the last minute as vacation leave time could not be obtained to get those gifts and then wrap them. Being in media is stressful in itself as there are no holidays, no days off. One is always on call. Perhaps that is why the idea of Christmas as a time to enjoy is all but alien to me.

When I was a freelancer and master of my own time, I could do all this and the decorating as well. I had all the time in the world to scout for new decorations, and to refurbish my old stuff.

But perhaps it is time to pass on that task to my daughters. So this year I will leave them to do the decorating and the figuring out which of our Christmas decorations need to be changed and which do not. I will also leave them to do the shopping for gifts, the wrapping, and the distributing, all with the objective of giving me more time to enjoy myself this season–for a change.

Now if only something could be done about the Christmas traffic . . .