Holiday mindsets

Ma. Isabel Ongpin

Ma. Isabel Ongpin

WHATEVER else is happening in this country, the holiday season is upon us and will not go away. Aside from the early Christmas carols and the ubiquitous Christmas decor from trees to wreaths, followed by gift-wrapped stuff and Christmas cards, the parties and other events with the theme of Christmas are advancing.

The main harbinger will be the bad traffic turning into the worst traffic and maybe impossible traffic. What to do? Enjoy the moment, keep a sense of humor and be clever.

Smart people who intend to send out gifts are sending them out now. While there is traffic to contend with, it is still manageable, relatively speaking. Sending gifts presupposes that gifts are made, bought and wrapped. This step must therefore take place now. Go to Divisoria, to the malls, to the bazaars, and check out the Christmas gift list. If you can’t or won’t, you can order online or by telephone and have stuff intended for gifts delivered to your designated addresses.

Since food is a main concern for the holidays, it should be ordered in advance, stored properly to be as good as newly cooked. Last year I panicked when sometime in the third week of December I could not find a frozen turkey in the usual places. After several fruitless visits to a number of groceries, I got the last one in one establishment. I wondered if there had been a mad rush to stock up on turkey weeks before by smart shoppers, or they were just in such high demand that they were no longer on the grocery freezers. Whatever, I had some very disconcerting moments looking for what was either sold out or hard to find.

If one is into cooking the holiday dishes, be sure to get the ingredients needed and safely in your pantry. One friend who gives Food for the Gods as gifts could not find the dates last year, a very necessary ingredient. Unsuccessful, she had to content herself with prunes, a good substitute but not the real thing.

As for the intention to wear new clothes or outfits to mark the holidays and welcome the new year in an all-new ensemble, do something about acquiring it now. Whether buying or bespoke, the move must be made now. Modistes are coming into their extremely busy season. The clothes racks at the stores will be mad with buyers. Aside from Christmas and/or New Year outfits, modistes are deep into preparing for wedding entourages. This country comes up with more weddings in January than June, the supposed traditional bridal month.

But then there will always be the physical presence of traffic as one goes to obligatory events or shopping. Be adventurous and happy to get lost in the world of traffic by preparing for it. Water and snacks in the car, some music to soothe impatience and get over long standstills, and best of all, some company to experience the ordeal together and have a good conversation going. Leave at the logical time to get to your destination, taking into consideration road conditions; but if it takes longer, relax. Reading, if there is someone else driving, is a big help. Taking in the sights outside the car window can be quite entertaining and informative. It might lead to some charitable deeds or initiate the pursuit of new activity from new ideas. With today’s gadgets, the Waze application for traffic conditions or suggestions is very helpful. Learn how to profit from it.

It would be best to avoid driving altogether and perhaps give the light railway trains a wide berth. So, while public transportation of a certain kind is to be avoided, others may be indulged in, such as the on-call taxis like Uber or Grab Taxi. Even the UV vehicles can provide adequate and satisfactory service. Traffic will not disappear with their use but not having to be the one to navigate a vehicle through the traffic would open opportunities for more thinking, reflecting and detaching oneself from the madding crowd aside from simple relaxation.

Experiencing traffic is inevitable when destinations have to be reached. Pooling of resources like car pools and school buses for schoolchildren would be very helpful. Best would be to schedule trips earlier in the holidays or coming holiday season.

Finally, when one is at a standstill and getting impatient, angry or desperate, pray. Lifting one’s thoughts to the Deity makes for a serene communion with the Divine, a necessary attention to the spiritual in the universe and in us as well as living the holiday season of peace and goodwill as one should.


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