My parents and I only celebrate Christmas by attending mass together, ever since my sister passed away in 2003. (No picture shown of us. My parents dislike taking a picture of 3 people as mere superstition.)
During this year's Christmas Eve mass, I calmly listened to the homily given by the priest.
"A little girl gave a present (gift) to her father," the priest said. "The father opened the gift. Surprisingly, it was empty. The little girl told her father that I blew many kisses into it. This is all for you, Daddy."
Christmas is not all about "presents." Instead, it is more about your "presence."
After Christmas Eve mass, I spent time with my good friend and his family.
On Christmas Day, I came back to visit him and his family.
Picture shown of me and a few of his family members.
Later in the afternoon, I picked up (another) good friend's father along with his wife to a hotel in San Francisco. (They celebrated his birthday, and their Christmas at SF.) We ate dinner at his house.
Video shown below.
Again, I have come to realize that it is our "presence" in the moment, not exchanging "presents."
My dad once told me about my bonding relationship with my two good friends, and especially their families, "Son, you are a good man. You have people who care about you. I did not have this."
I answered, "You joined the US military to start a new life at 18 years old. You escaped from a poor life in the Philippines. If it weren't for you and mom, I would not have been here."
The past is remembered.
Most importantly, enjoy your "presence" with others, not "presents" (unless you want to).
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.
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