Open letter to SantaBy Natts Jadaone
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I miss you.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote to you. But what I do remember is that you never wrote me back. And that I never got that SpiceCam Polaroid. But I know you’re a busy man and you have your reasons. I’m writing to you now because I don’t really know who to ask. They always say, “No one knows the exact day or hour the world will end.” And since you’re Father Christmas, and you prepare for it whole year round, perhaps you have a clue?
Dec. 21, 2012, just a few days short of Christmas Day, was the “fearful forecast” of the last day of the earth. No one actually knew what cataclysmic or transformative events awaited us on that day. My friends and I created The Last Planner You’ll Ever Have 2012, to poke fun at the apocalyptic prophecy, and came up with a list of scenarios on how the world would end, from the far-fetched (zombies, animal mutation, alien invasion) to the more probable and scary ones (tsunami, solar flare, ice age). But with the recent turn of events, with the row of disasters that have happened, it started to scare me that these survival tips might actually be needed someday—soon. There have been chains of earthquakes, tsunamis, supertyphoons that have caused major flooding in areas not used to being flooded, and surprisingly, and even more disturbingly, disasters happening in different parts of the globe and not just here in our country. Were those the warning signs? And what should we be prepared for exactly?
I lost a dear friend to Tropical Storm “Sendong” a year ago. It’s a sad and difficult feeling when you lose someone close and, even worse, your age. It makes you think, she was so young. She still had a lot of dreams to fulfill. Death was literally a thief that came in the middle of that night, stealing loved ones, homes, dreams, and a supposedly happy Christmas. I had never been a believer of the 2012 prophecy and the supposed warning signs, but with it came a rude awakening of how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away, so we must enjoy and make good use of every single second of it.
I was moved to wonder: What if “the day” had indeed been set and made known to everyone? Will we still be celebrating Christmas? Will there still be gift-giving? Will there still be Christmas trees, Christmas lights and decorations? Will there still be carols in the air? Will department stores still be playing remixed Christmas songs? Will the stores and malls still be even open? Will people still go out of their homes and into the streets? Will people spend their last days living in fear and despair? Or in unending revelry and impulsive pursuits, with total disregard of consequences and punishments, knowing that the next day might not come anyway? All this had led me to another morbid thought (that has been cultivated by countless sci-fi doomsday movies): Wouldn’t it be better if the whole world would end in just one split-second, without leaving a single breathing microorganism? That way, we would all be spared of agony, of sorrow, and of mourning. Ready or not.
Maybe there’s a good reason why we do not know that exact day and hour. Sometimes, not knowing is better than knowing. What you don’t know won’t kill you. To see is to believe. But believing does not always require seeing.
I feel sad for you, Santa, about the debate and controversy regarding your being a supposed symbol of commercialism, of consumerist culture, or of paganism, when in fact you actually have Christian roots, tracing back to St. Nicholas of Myra (Demre, modern-day Turkey). From an educational standpoint, belief in Santa even promotes literacy and old-school letter-writing, devoid of text and “jeje” lingo. A child’s first experience of correspondence is actually writing to you. More than a myth, you’ve created a tradition.
I’m glad my parents introduced me to you, Santa. In my mind, you’ll always be that bearded, jolly, chubby old man in red, reminding us that amidst calamities or impending doom, there’s always hope that Christmas will come this year, and the next, and the next…
And I promise to be nice all year round, Santa. (What is your criteria for being naughty or nice, anyway?)
Natts Jadaone, 25, whose real name “Nathalia” means “a child of Christmas,” is an insight planner at the advertising agency Publicis Manila.
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