Peter Solis Nery of Iloilo Metropolitan TimesI hate to sound like a Miss Universe candidate, but all I want for Christmas is… world peace. And I am not kidding!

In many ways, living in America killed Christmas for me.

First, they don’t play Christmas songs nor put up the Christmas trees on September 1, at the start of the ‘ber’ months. Oh, I can still remember how my late American husband gets so amused to see the Philippine shopping malls decked in Christmas trappings, and playing piped in Christmas carols, too, when we come in September to pick up my annual Palanca Awards.

Second, Christmas in America is very, very short. Well, I know it’s just supposed to be one day, but, well, not in the Philippines! Anyway, Americans don’t really decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, which is the last Thursday of November. And then, there are other festivals before December 25. There’s the Hanukkah, or Chanukah, or whatever you call that Jewish Festival of Lights. So, if you are not in a Filipino family in America, you probably may not feel the Christmas cheer until December 23 or 24. Because, well, you got to work and classes go on until then.

Third, in most offices and places of work, Christmas parties are held as early as December 12, and that’s it. Everything reverts back to normal work mode after the office party. Everybody becomes a busy body again.

Fourth, I was a nice worker bee in my first six years in America. Like, since we were asked to work one holiday on either Christmas or New Year, I would be nice to everyone and volunteer to work on the Christmas holiday so that those with kids can spend the day with their families. I’m okay to have no Christmas for myself, but I just want the kids to enjoy the magic of Christmas with family. I know that it’s probably cheeky for you, but I am generous that way.

Fifth, since the family I grew up with are now so scattered around the globe, and I have no children of my own, Christmas is just not the same. Sometimes, I’d call them and they’d be at work, or asleep and too tired from work. No time to sit down and drink hot cocoa with you (3,000miles or 14,000 miles apart), and compare what you got from under the Christmas tree.

Sixth, because America gives me a sense of affluence (Yes, we got credit cards for those who cannot pay cash!), I don’t really care when Christmas is anymore. You see, when I was little, I looked forward to Christmas because that’s the only time of the year when we get to get our one new pair of shoes and some new clothes. It was the best time of the year because we also get to eat really good food courtesy of our parent’s Christmas bonuses.

Seventh, I was miserable during Christmas last year because my dear husband passed away on December 7. Did you think I had time to celebrate? Of course, I did. But it wasn’t as much fun. Or maybe it was. But let’s not split hair over that, okay? Death in December: that doesn’t sound like a Merry Christmas to you, does it?

Eighth, I’m not rich, or maybe I am, and I’m just in denial, but I don’t really need Christmas anymore to be kind and generous to others, or to get treats for myself as reward for being both naughty and nice. I also don’t need a Christmas vacation; I am retired! To say it another way, everyday is Christmas for me! Ho-ho-ho!

So, yeah. There is nothing I want more that I cannot have using my guts, will, and resources. For myself, I do not need anything more. I have been blessed so many times over. I know that I am called to be generous to others, and I have been. I’ve even offered myself, my whole self, and nothing but!

So let’s do this again, all I want for Christmas is… world peace. And I mean it!