No to consumerism and a giant “yes!” to happiness

Christmas and New Year’s are almost here…. In a few weeks, Christmas songs will begin playing on radio and television to the point of saturation; even Chicho, my dog, can hum José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad.” My mouth will go dry from repeating “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” so often, and I’ll get a pain in my right wrist from signing so many holiday cards. 

The windows of shops and other businesses will no longer be transparent, because they will be covered with Christmas decorations and signs advertising price cuts, offers that are impossible to resist, and we will all go to the mall like zombies in search of sweets. Replicas of sleighs will be erected on rooftops, and houses will be festooned with cotton snow, Santa Claus dolls, displays of the Baby Jesus’s birth and lights—lots of lights, in so many colors that I can imagine the world converted into a giant disco ball. Those Earthlings are celebrating again, the extraterrestrials would probably say.

In a few days—the Friday after Thanksgiving, to be exact—it will be Black Friday, the day that all of the stores cut their prices for clothing, cosmetics, shoes, purses, electrical appliances, jewelry, and etc., by more than 50 percetn, and the “ching-ching!” of the cash registers goes on until midnight. I imagine that we will have to reduce the subscription price for our magazine, and the sale price in the more than 189 stores where OnCuba is sold (Barnes & Noble, Books& Books, Hudson News); if not, we will be the only ones selling our products at the same price. So, if you are reading this, take advantage of that fact and buy several magazines to give away as gifts. And speaking of gifts, have you ever wondered why we have to give gifts on Christmas? Is that a piece of good advice is not good enough anymore? 

In a few days, too, the refreshing breeze of my beloved Miami Lakes will become intoxicated with the smell of fried pork and cracklings that the wind drags in from the city of Hialeah. I think that at Christmastime, Hialeah is the place where the most pork is fried and roasted in the United States; and even though the smell of pork tenderloin is wafting through the air, my people complain, because they say that pork from pigs that are raised here “never” tastes or smells like it does in Cuba. Thank goodness, because if smelled like it does in Cuba, I would have moved to New York…. Now let me explain: the thing is, I don’t eat pork. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to say so, because I feel like not eating pork reflects a lack of Cuban-ness…

As you may have guessed, I’m not a wild fan of Christmas. The materialistic, commercial aspect that is fostered and promoted around the holiday season discourages me; I hope our country does not become a society of unbridled consumerism…. However, what I do like and what it stirs in me is the friendly, family spirit that permeates the air during this time. I am moved by celebrations with friends and family, sharing with our loved ones, good dinners, good wine, laughter, stories, hugs and kisses, and the photos that remain afterward for posterity.

This year, I am not sending out any holiday cards; I am sending OnCuba magazine to all of my friends. I want to use this editorial to send out Christmas greetings to everyone. May you all spend the holiday with family, and may the New Year be filled with blessings, good health, love, happiness and prosperity.

For the OnCuba team, my best wishes, you are the best…. And to you, our dear readers, thank you for reading us. May you always be accompanied by good health, happiness and OnCuba magazine in 2013.

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