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Holiday zone

The first regular Christmas season is fast approaching and we are just getting used to how pre-pandemic life was during this time of year.

With December quickly coming up, parties, gatherings, reunions, monito-monita, something-somethings, preparations for Christmas parties and presentations are all on the horizon these days. The extroverts are probably trembling with anticipation while the introverts are secretly wishing for another lockdown to be declared.

Peak Christmas season is good for any economy. People will be eating and drinking regularly and buying each other useless gifts in the spirit of fun all throughout the month, as we accommodate different social groups to celebrate the holidays with. At the very least, there is will be gatherings for the workplace, highschool/childhood friend group, hobby or sport group, civic organization group, and finally, different family reunions for each side of our families.

All throughout the coming month, gifts will be exchanged, big and small. There will be secret santas, monito-monita, that something-something game, exchange gift requirements for Christmas parties, aside from the obligations to family members and godchildren. We will be spending and receiving thousands of pesos on trinkets that ultimately become plastic pollution, and maybe, if we are lucky, get something that is actually useful and wanted.

Aside from the gifts, there will be gatherings galore. The two plus years of the same convenient excuse of COVID health and safety protocols has finally worn out and most of us won’t have the heart to refuse to attend these holiday gatherings. I know some people have actually been looking forward to this holiday of freedom, but on the flip side, there will always be the antisocial introverts who have actually enjoyed having the convenient excuse to always stay home.

We already know that the extroverts and the party planning types are excited for the coming weeks as we approach peak holiday season. They will most definitely enjoy December 2022 as it marks the comeback of the face-to-face Christmas party.

However, it may be about time for us to also consider the anti-social, cheapskate, germophobe introverts who will be wishing for reasons to stay home in the coming weeks because we have this tendency to forget that the pandemic changed everything and there are certain things that we have to accept by now.

If there are employers that saw the light and adapted to the work from home setup because of its benefits and advantages, then our social situations may also need to adapt as well. Expecting everyone to enjoy the Christmas parties, the socializing and gift giving, and even the forced performances, might need to become a thing of the past. Those who enjoy it can continue to enjoy it as much as they want, but in a post-pandemic world, it looks like we also need to recognize and respect those who don’t consider these holiday traditions and celebrations as their cup of tea.

If you come to think of it, understanding the anti-social folk provides a win-win solution for everyone. For one, there is less spending, wastage, carbon emissions and plastic pollution when we let them be. Not forcing them to join the extracurricular activities they are not interested in results in both the present and those not present basically having more fun, including the environment. The budget is also rightsized when the group doesn’t have to include them in the cost estimates. Gift giving and group performances become more involved when everyone is fully engaged and not just forced into submission. And if there is one thing we have learned from the pandemic, that would be that physical attendance is not necessary for a successful event in many cases.

As we approach the peak holiday season, we have to be a little more considerate as we ease back into the so-called next normal. Some might want to rush into it as soon as possible while others could still be thinking about it, wishing they could still stay at home.

There are many lessons learned from the pandemic and one of these is those two years of alone time could’ve changed some minds and conventions on how our social lives should be go. Let us keep that in mind and be more considerate of the needs of those whose idea of fun may be different from ours as we rush headlong into the Christmas finale that we lost almost three years ago.*

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