By Timothy James Dulguime
As the year comes to a close, a young man reflects and finds reasons why Christmas is still worth celebrating despite the pandemic and the disasters that have upended the lives of people.
The year 2020 has been filled with challenges and obstacles as COVID-19 continues to pound on millions of people around the world. Here in the Philippines, things turned for the worse when recent typhoons destroyed homes and took lives. But despite the struggles we had to face over the span of nine months, it amazes me how some people still manage to find a reason to smile.
With the kind of devastation this pandemic and the typhoons have caused, I would have thought that people would lose their excitement in celebrating the coming Christmas – or life in general. I myself have gone through depression and anxiety due to the uncertainties that these things have brought upon us. It’s all new to a student like me. First, the schoolyear was cut short, then classes are now done online. There’s also been an increase in unemployment that affected working parents, and of course there’s still this nagging fear of getting infected by the virus.
Staying indoors, I felt how life has changed drastically. Hearing about COVID-19 cases increasing each day makes me worry every time my family and friends leave their houses. Also, due to the lack of exercise, one of my problems is weight gain because after eating, I have nowhere to go to burn the calories. To cope with these negative emotions, I went back to writing stories that I have been neglecting for a while. I also watched movies to study their storytelling styles.
House chores and online games also helped me avoid getting homesick over the past nine months in quarantine, and it somehow proved to be effective. However, there are still moments when I would miss going outside, travelling and going out with friends to have fun. Those are what I am looking forward to when quarantine protocols are lifted even though I know it’s still uncertain when it will end.
To find out what people think about Christmas this year, I asked some of my friends if they are still excited about it. Most of them said that they are still excited and are hoping for a better year. However, they also admitted that as years passed by, Christmas is not as exciting anymore as when they were kids; and I agree because I am not that excited anymore myself.
As kids, we were excited by family gatherings with the yummy food and overflowing drinks, and of course, the presents – especially the toys and new clothes. Growing older, we became more aware with a lot of things to worry about and seemingly endless things to do. Our only problem back then was how to trick our parents into believing that we are asleep – but we are not so carefree anymore.
As Christmas nears, I am beginning to realize it hasn’t changed this year. It shouldn’t. It is still the same and the only thing that has changed is our mindset and our priorities. Maybe the reason we lose the excitement that we have back when we were just kids is that we got too focused on the commercial side of Christmas. As we grow old, we recognize the value of more important things – spirituality, family and hope – and we see Christmas as a normal tradition that we celebrate every year with people we care about.
That’s why some people still manage to smile.
This is the brighter side. Some are still looking forward to Christmas because over the years, it has become a symbol of family bonding and celebrating the little things even if the year has been tough for everyone. People may grow and their mindsets and priorities may change, but there is no better view than people sharing laughter and gathering for a feast amidst this challenging year. That, for me, is the true spirit of Christmas.
About the Writer
Timothy James Dulguime
Timothy James Dulguime was a news writer for the Far Eastern University Senior High for two years before moving to Polytechnic University of the Philippines taking up Broadcasting. His passion for writing remains as he often finds himself writing short stories, essays and poetry. When he is not writing, he watches movies so he can study cinematography and gather ideas to improve his storytelling.