Christmas without my Dad – Trip Jem

Christmas without my Dad

When I was a kid I always look forward to Christmas, specifically the night before Christmas were I hang my long socks. Maybe the reason too why I became insomniac at an early age is because of this reason, too. I was waiting for dear Santa Claus’ gifts for me! But my mommy and daddy would tell me, Santa Claus would not give my gifts until I was fast asleep. So I would hurry myself to sleep, but my kiddie mind kept on wandering.

Every 25th of December of my childhood, I would excitedly woke up and jump from my bed, shout out a loud “Merry Christmas” for mommy and daddy. I would go out from our third floor’s terrace were I hang my socks, and there to my delight, my pair of socks were filled with apples and oranges, and 20-30 various wrapped gifts of food and toys of different sizes were found scattered around our terrace. Every Christmas was a different set of gifts. It never fail to surprise me! From age 4 to maybe 7 years old, I would always look forward to Santa Claus’ gifts.


Sadly, there were no exact photos of the gifts in the terrace area, for me to show to you, but being surprised this grand is one of the most unforgettable memories I have, that I would never forget.

After I unwrapped all the gifts, my mom would dress me up with a fancy, beautiful dress, cute gold accessories, and even a touch of make up. We would go to Sto. Nino Church in the morning to attend the Christmas Mass, and then after that we would went home to celebrate our Christmas family reunion on the first floor, garage area.

Our cars then would be parked outside the garage area, and would turn the garage area to a dining setup, were inside would lay chairs and long table full of food. Our garage gate was just widely open for relatives, and even neighbors, to come in and celebrate.

Even if we’re a family of 3, our clan is huge, that we never felt like a small family then. I’ve got a lot of cousins and uncles and aunties!

For me then, the more the merrier. The more gifts, the more happy I was. The more food, the more happy I was. The more visitors, the more happy I was. It needed to be a feast, that’s what I thought then. But even though I was given a lot of gifts by Santa Claus, it didn’t need to be expensive. Even those apples and oranges inside the socks made me easily happy then.

Our Christmas food then, it didn’t need to be expensive too. My mom would just cook spaghetti, lumpiang sariwa, fried lumpia, afritada, macaroni salad, fruit salad, graham cake, dad’s inihaw na bangus,  daddy bendo’s menudo, and momy bebe’s buko pandan and sweet beans. All are just prepared at our home.

After Santa Claus surprised me with lots of gifts, I remembered my dad back then. He gave me a Christmas gift personally. I told myself then: ‘Santa Claus, my daddy beat you!’ The more gifts the merrier? No. That one is an exception because it was special.

Fast forward to today, December 25, 2019, the most saddest Christmas for me. My daddy died just this October 2019. So we would be celebrating Christmas without my dad.


Here’s a pic of my daddy with my niece, Cydney, my cousin’s daughter, way back 2015.

For me, it’s true that the more you get older, the more Christmas turned less meaningful. Your parents turned older, your kid’s wish list changes.

Right now, no amount or quality of gifts could mend my aching heart, and could truly make me happy.   I am just being honest about my feelings, and I do not want to force myself into celebrating same as the usual.

I always like to plan for the holidays and for celebrations like this. But when you’re hit with a painful experience, you just wanna lay down in bed under a blanket, or just binge eat, watch K-drama and sleep, as a way to escape.

I no longer have the same Christmas spirit I have like I got from my childhood.

Apologies to the people I could not even greet Merry Christmas, because Christmas this year, isn’t that merry for me, now that my dad’s gone.

The problem with it is, time never stops for you and all of us. Time doesn’t know if you are happy or grieving.

To my loved ones, thank you for your understanding. I will make sure to bounce back.

My daddy did not make it this Christmas this year. And, it’s a realization for me that you do not wait for Christmas or any other seasons. When you celebrate today with a blast, you celebrate tomorrow and the following day with a blast too. If you celebrate today with a heavy heart, it’s perfectly fine too. Christmas is no longer just a gift-giving season. It has a lot of different meanings depending on the situation you are in.


How was your Christmas? Are we feeling the same way too? You may post on the comments below and I’ll for sure, read your stories!

Thank you for reading my posts, by the way! It means a lot to me!

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