IT DISMAYS me that I see so many beautiful stuffed toys and various other playthings, and don’t buy any of them. There are no more little children in the family. And it doesn’t look like any of my nine healthy, good-looking adult grandchildren are interested in gifting me with an apo-sa-tuhod yet.

Life was so simple then. Instead of being frazzled with endless Christmas gift shopping and wrapping, we were always unbusy enough to plan for a live Nativity tableau on Christmas.

We prepared a big carton box with straw for a manger. The Baby Jesus was always the youngest baby in the family. Everyone else became either kings, shepherds or animals.

One Baby Jesus loved his box so much, his mom even brought it home, and he would crawl into it for comfort with his baby bottle.

Later on, we made a crude stage at the back of the compound. We decorated it with cloud mosquito nets and old lace curtains and retazo. I think the tableau stopped when the last Baby Jesus who, at six months, was more agile than we thought, crawled out of the box. He almost fell off the stage.

In time the tableau morphed into a teenage band.