That thing Niko does on Christmas eve

Not that there's a competition to be first, but... have a happy Christmas, a merry new year, and hopefully a brilliant 2015! But who am I to know?

Once again, I almost forgot I had something to do on Christmas eve. I wish I could say I was busy packing for a trip to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur - we fly out the day after Christmas, and the itinerary includes a stint as an unpaid messenger for the girlfriend and her online friend of five years - but, well, no, I'm not packing. Not yet. I have an idea what I want to bring, and the care package I am sending as that aforementioned unpaid messenger is all ready, but I haven't done any packing. And here I am, sending text messages to people who likely wouldn't reply.

I sent that to 47 people, only one of which is international. I mean, my Singapore friends are all home for the holidays, and my Aussie friend, well, I'll just send the message through Viber. And, as I write this, I remember that one of those friends is in Hong Kong right now, so I apologize for charging you twenty bucks.

You know the vagaries of some people going places and some people staying stuck, yes?

From Drea Dizon: Merry rainy Christmas and a happy new year, too! Oh yeah, there is that, too. It's raining today. We've gone as far as a yellow rainfall warning.

From Edsel Mendoza: Well, if there were, you'd be the winner! Dammit, remember when everybody sent text messages on Christmas eve, ostensibly to beat network congestion? Now we've all stopped sending text messages, and when we do it does not get stuck in some tower, and yet they can't improve their mobile Internet. Hooray! All of 'em back toya! Happy merry everything!

From Meg Lee: Kuya! Merry Christmas as well. All feels for bed weather and pillows to cuddle.

From Jackie Uy, who I texted, and who tweeted her reply: Received your text message! She thankfully still has a local number. A very merry Christmas and a blessed 2015 to you and your loved ones!

From Issa Marcelang: Hi, sino ito? Sorry. And there goes the first.

From Issa Marcelang, once I have identified myself as the guy she didn't meet during the Kimbra gig: Aww hi man! Sorry! This be new phone so 'di naka-save. Merry Christmas, too! I suddenly feel old, all of a sudden.

From Meg Lee, after I said I can no longer just cuddle a pillow: It's a weird term I used. Wait, no, I mean, it's no longer enough!

From Karla Peralta: Happy Christmas! God bless, Magda!

From Meg Lee: I actually do. My guy is miles apart from me. Oh well. Hay, so how have you been? Aww, Meg. And we leave it there.

From Katia Naval: Happy holidays to you, too!

From Mika Ayson: If there was, you just won. Mika, meed Edsel. Merry Christmas Nikowww! A new bet for 2015, okay? We didn't have a bet in 2014, for some reason. I wanted a Hannibal-related one, for the record.

From the person you only know as Imogen: Hi Niko, thanks! Merry Christmas too, and here's to a brave new year!

From Janine DiƱoso, who mistakenly called me for some reason: Also, happy Christmas and a merry new year as well! 2015's gonna be siiiccckk! But hopefully not hospitalized.

From the person you only know as Cha: Merry Christmas, bud! Nothing ever changes, and it's comforting.

From Icka Alcantara: You're actually the fourth: a Viber sticker, [a Facebook] photo tag and a video beat you to it. If this was a vote of national importance, whether political or The Voice, I would be the guy who won in Edsel and Mika's hearts. "Ikaw pa rin ang tunay na panalo sa aming mga puso," they'd probably go. Anyway. But Christmas isn't Christmas without a personalized early greeting from you. Dammit, this isn't that personalized. Now I feel guilty! Happy holidays, Niko! Advanced happy birthday - does that make me the first? - as well! Yes, you are the first, Icka.

From Ariane Astorga: You always greet early. I don't have to, seemingly. Merry Christmas, Niko! Ho ho ho! God bless you and your family!

From Jennifer Ngo: Merry Christmas! Two exclamation points.

And that's it. Fourteen people. Am I complaining? Not quite. To be fair, I almost did forget about this. And in case you're wondering, I have packed a bit - most, actually, so, whether you're flying or driving or staying put, whether it's been a good year or bad, you know. Happy holidays. And may next year be as momentous as this blog's. I say that because this thing turns ten in three months' time.

And your responses...

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