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Christmas rush

RAISE your hands, class, anyone who agrees with Senator Grace Poe’s suggestion that we all take an early Christmas break?

Ninety-two days before Christmas, those were the smartest words to hear. And why shouldn’t DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones go along? You don’t have to be as clever as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer operating with his GPS from the North Pole to know that the December traffic in Manila is sure to be hell on earth. (It took me one hour to move one km on EDSA two Wednesdays ago, at 1:30 p.m., but then I don’t have a chauffeur like Transportation Secretary Tugade’s.)

If I were you, I’d start doing your Christmas shopping now. Or cancel it altogether, as my friends have been doing for the last two years. Not that we are not friendly friends, we’re just old – aha! – friends who are “wise enough” to do without gifts to one another during the manic, hectic season of gift-giving. As Elisa used to say, “At our age do we still need to play Kris Kringle?”

A Christmas gift is a labor of love. You take time looking for a unique gift in your favorite shops, you take it home and wrap it up with paper and ribbons sourced on another day from another store, and then, here comes the killer, you deliver it through the traffic caused by others like you who are caught in a similar jam. In the age of digital shopping, you could do just that, but where’s the meaningfulness and the fun?

When Japan lost the Second World War and was in a hurry to recover from their defeat, one of the most important edicts issued by the Japanese Emperor and the American Emperor General was to ban gift-giving. We’re not now in any war except the war on drugs, but we could do with less, not more, to make this a merry and merciful season – shopping early, holding and attending fewer parties, postponing visits to Ninong and Ninang to January instead.

If DepEd heeds Senator Poe’s idea, classes should end first week of December, leaving us something like 17 blessed days of light-to-moderate traffic to plug into the Christmas spirit. (Jullie Y. Daza)