Episode 36 – Thursday, December 10th, 2015 (6918)
This Yuletide season, I’m pretty sure that you can’t miss without attending Christmas party in your school or company. And it has been a traditional among us. There are having exchanged gifts (or monito-monita), parlor games, contests, raffle and of course, eating lots of food! Most of the schools and companies have presented their Christmas party occasions every December (some companies may set their Christmas parties earlier than December). I just want to share about my experiences attending Christmas parties from the past to the present times.
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Deaf School Era (1994-2004)
When I first attended to study at Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, I was so excited to attend a Christmas party with my deaf classmates. Because I was a kid during that time, I was so playful with them especially during school occasions including Christmas party. But my first attending Christmas party at the deaf school (in December 1994) was horrible. I got an accident after I slipped on the floor while running and playing with some of my schoolmates. I was so crying during that time and got hurt when my front tooth was almost broken (there was a little crack on my tooth which would be fixed years later). With my beloved mother, I continued to cry until the Christmas party feast of my class where I couldn’t eat delicious food presented by the mothers of my classmates. I didn’t enjoy the Christmas party for my first time ever in my school life. But fast forward to the next school’s Christmas party, I was now so careful to play with my deaf classmates, and when I grew up thru teenage years, I enjoyed the Christmas party with them inside the class.
Up to my high school years, there were still some parlor games, eating the delicious food, and before heading to go home for Christmas vacation, we had to exchange our gifts. Some usual things that I received from some of my classmates were handkerchiefs, picture frames, and coffee mugs. And one of my memorable things happened during the party was giving a gift to my crush. In 2000, I secretly gave a simple Christmas gift to my pretty crush from the fifth grade. And in the years to come until 2004, I had given my special gifts to my crushes and to my deaf sweetheart (in 2001 and 2003, but already nullified in my history books). In 2003, despite of having conflicts in school (because there was a school controversy due of alleged corruption against the principal), I and my classmates in the third (junior) year high school celebrated Christmas party in some separated ways as some teachers didn’t greet each other or exchange their Christmas greetings. This was also the time when my friendship organization, Tent & Co., held its first (and only) Christmas “party” (not actually a party but having our exchanged gifts as a group). However, Christmas party at PSD in 2003 would be my last to attend.
In 2004, I was brought by AFS Philippines to become one of 41 high school students to study in the United States for one academic year. And I missed the Christmas party of PSD for the first time after attending 10 consecutive times. During my school life at Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD), there were no Christmas parties in everyone’s room (although there was a Christmas program) especially for high school students. But there were some Christmas parties held in ASD dormitories including McDonald Hall where I used to stay during school days (even though the Woolmaker’s house where I lived was just near in Talladega). On December 16, 2004, there was a short and simple Christmas party inside McDonald Hall dorm. But unlike in the past occasions that I had attended at PSD in the past 10 years, there were neither parlor games nor eating delicious food nor having exchanged gifts. There was a movie to be watched by my dorm mates. But I didn’t watch the movie. Instead, I had to talk someone who made me inspire after I confessed my feelings to her. She was from Junior (Grade 11) and was my team mate in ASD Academic Bowl. Earlier that day, I had a secret Christmas gift for her, but I didn’t give it to her personally. Instead, I just gave it to my favorite “daddy”, Mr. Paul Millard, to call her to receive during my vocational class. She was happy to receive that gift from me which made my Christmas moment joyful. This was the most memorable Christmas moment that I had during my stay in the U.S. and even, it was still on my top list (of being most memorable) until 2012 (the year when I got my first ever non-deaf girlfriend).
Even though no Christmas party was held at ASD, there was a Christmas party for the exchange students like me. On December 10, 2004, most of the exchange students living in the state of Alabama were present at the party even our fellow exchange students who are Muslims were also attending (despite of their different religion). There were some parlor games and tricky exchanged gifts where the first one might be stolen his/her present by the next one. This was my first (and only) time to attend a Christmas party in the U.S.
Post-Deaf School Era (2005-2009)
When I came back home from my wonderful experiences in the U.S., I was unexpectedly transferred from PSD to a non-deaf school in Santa Rosa, Laguna to study high school. And because of this, it would be my first (and final) time to attend Christmas party together with my non-deaf classmates inside the school.
In December 2005, I and my classmates attended Christmas party of our class. It was a quite simple party for us because some other classmates didn’t come. There were no exchanged gifts happened, but there were some food to eat. One of my memorable moments that I had during the party was when I kissed my pretty and smartest classmate who was my first crush in Post-Deaf School Era. I just did it because it was a part of Truth or Consequence game where I chose “Consequence”, and my classmates asked me to kiss someone whom I had a crush inside the class or in school.
During my college days at PUP-Sta Rosa, there was no Christmas party on every class or section. But in the next two years (2006 and 2007), there were Christmas programs presented by the said university, and I was the one of many participants of these two occasions because I was a member of Artist Guild – Crew together with my classmates, Hector, Mark, Junnie, Melissa, John Christian and some others. Days before the program, we were assigned to create some props for the program like in this photo below in 2007.
Although there’s no Christmas party during college times, I was so happy to have a long Christmas vacation with my family after days of hardworking at school. The year 2007 was the best Christmas season for me because there were the most memorable moments happened during my college life: our school trip to Enchanted Kingdom, a Christmas presentation at downtown Santa Rosa for the second time, and a simple but funny Christmas party with some of my closest classmates.
Post-College Graduation and Working Career (2010-Present)
Months after my college graduation, I found my first ever job at AsecAsia in Alabang, and it was a perfect time for me because at first, I was hired to become a graphic artist on mid-December 2010 (considered as a Christmas present for me), and second I was able to attend the company’s Christmas party for the first time in my career life. My first attending Christmas party was so wonderful, meeting new friends, and of course, the delicious and yummiest food that I wanted to eat. Hehehe! After the party, I and my close teammates, Jin and Marlon, attended a small Christmas party for SuperMedia at a house of one of our teammates in Muntinlupa where we met our other work colleagues celebrating our enjoyment and fun.
One year later, when I was in Dex One, I didn’t attend the Christmas party even though I had come to work before the event. It was supposed to be my second time to attend the company’s Christmas party when I decided to not go for some reasons.
In 2012, when I was working at RR Donnelley in Mandaluyong, there were two different Christmas parties that I attended. The first one was the company’s Christmas party where the employees from the different departments gathered for one glorious night. The theme of the event was about black and white. There was also a dance contest where all the departments competed for the champion. The team where I belonged – Team Americana was the one to compete, and one of my close friends (and also former teammate for Team Romy back in AsecAsia), Jonathan, was there together with some of my teammates dancing in a superb performance (including the famous Gangnam Style by Psy which was so popular during the time). Although our team in dance presentation didn’t win the first place, we’re still happy to celebrate the party with raffling major prizes (I was the one of many employees in the company to not win any of those prizes). RRD Christmas Party that I attended (for my first and only time) was held on November 30, 2012, the earliest to be occurred during Christmas season. Two weeks later, the second was a Christmas party for Team Americana where I was the one to work for the team. It was just a “mini-version” of RRD Christmas Party but only for our team. There were some parlor games, surprising exchanged gifts, having a pack of Noche Buena for each one, picture taking, and of course, we never missed without eating our foods. Eat pa more! Hehehe!
However, by very next year (2013), I became jobless after resigning from RRD in June. For the second time since 2011, I missed Christmas party of any working company, of course, because I had no work during that time. But when I started to serve at The Feast Biñan (as LCD/Visual Operator), there was a simple but joyful Christmas party for the Media Ministry. For the first time, I attended a Christmas party neither from school nor from employment but from the Catholic prayer meeting that I’ve attended and served.
Last year (2014), I attended a simple but funny Christmas party in my current work in San Pedro. Despite of having only few graphic artists including myself in the workplace (because our company is based in Macau), we’re still holding our first-ever Christmas party at the office with their loved ones playing some parlor games, singing videoke, and eating delicious foods including lechon. However, our party was suddenly halted when our Australian boss (the main boss based in Macau) called our senior boss to shout “Stop the party! Stop the party!” because we’re still not yet finished our job for the next issue to be published next year. But despite of distraction, our friends and the children of our senior boss continued the party while we were patiently back to our workplace to finish our works until midnight.
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This Christmas 2015, I know there will be a short Christmas party to be held at the Feast SM Sta. Rosa after the final session of 2015 on December 20th. And some of my friends in the Media Ministry (led by Earl) are preparing to hold our simple Christmas party (with some exchanged gifts, of course), but I’m not sure if it will be happened. And how about holding a Christmas party in my work in San Pedro…? Well, I will wait for it with my work colleagues until we’ll finish our next issue for the magazine to be published next year (and to avoid distractions from what happened last year).
I’ll always be happy if someone holds a Christmas party either from the Feast or from my work to have fun and nice exchanged gifts or presents (if they’ll do so, I will). But let’s see if these will be made possible to be happened within few days before Christmas and New Year.