My 2018 Christmas wish list

I know it's Christmas day tomorrow, and by now you've probably finished all of your gift shopping, but it's never too late to post a Christmas wish list! Well, it'll be too late if I post it tomorrow, but then there's always the next Christmas, which would make me extremely early. (Also, I did plan to write this on the 15th, but we've had no Internet for the past week, so this had to wait.)

Also, let's be honest. You're not going to buy me a gift for Christmas, or even for my birthday, which is in a couple of weeks. Or for any other occasion. I'm just doing this because other blogs have posted theirs... wait. Christmas wish lists are a thing of the past. Nobody posts these things anymore, as far as I know. I mean, I don't really read a lot of blogs. Shalla and I had a discussion about how bloggers don't exist anymore, because they've all either moved to Instagram or YouTube. Nobody reads these things. So, this is me catching up with a trend long past its sell-by date, in a place nobody will stumble upon anyway.

But whatever. I've planned this essay out for weeks. Here's my Christmas wish list.

An iPad Pro. See, I told you, nobody will buy me the stuff I wish to have for Christmas.

Also, I didn't think the new versions - the ones without a home button - would make it to stores here in time for the holidays. I got to play with one in Hong Kong - there was an Apple reseller right below our hotel - and, well, it felt satisfying: the snap of the new Apple Pencil to the side of the tablet, the way the device feels so sexy despite not being all curves and seamless like its siblings. But they're in Manila now. The cheapest one - 64 gigabytes, wi-fi only, 11-inch screen - costs a mere PHP 52,000. They have better installment options now, too. Gone are the days when you can only pay for your Apple device within six months. I'm paying for my not-so-new-anymore iPhone for a year more, and by then it's twice as obsolete. Maybe they'll release a phone with a screen on the front and the back.

Do I really need it? To be honest, no. But lately I find myself frustrated with my laptop. Yes, it freezes a lot and (until recently) had a battery that was essentially dead, but it's handy for everything I have to do for work and for play. But do I really need to bring all of this if I'm just going to consultations in government offices? I know I might have to work, but do I really need to bring all of this? And I'm stupid enough to walk from Buendia to Glorietta carrying all this, too. So, yes, nice to have. Please buy this for me. I mean, please give this to me as a gift. Please?

A copy of the Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities. Okay, this one is more attainable. I've seen this at Fully Booked. It costs just PHP 3,300. If you've been reading this blog you'll know I've been a long-time Monocle reader (and a subscriber for the past two years - if I bought this myself there'd be a discount) but I haven't really had a reason to buy their books. I mean, I can be a completist, but not for this one. That said, the magazine helped revive my interest in cities, one forged throughout my childhood as I aspired to become an architect and, later, played a lot of SimCity. They've been talking about urbanism a lot, so it was a surprise that it took them a while to release this coffee table book on cities - after writing ones about homes, entertaining and even the vague notion of nation-building.

Do you really need a book about cities, though? Well, they can be interesting in the hands of the right people. I'm sure I've mentioned Charles Montgomery's Happy City book here a few years ago - I bought that one, and that informs some of my beliefs about how we should be developing our cities. But then, I live in the Philippines, where governments are more than happy to outsource that expertise to real estate developments, who are more than happy to oblige as long as they can earn a profit from it, which means only those who can afford to buy a third home get the right to enjoy green space. This is a fucking hopeless situation.

Also, I did tell you it's a coffee table book, right? I have no more space for books. They're already split between the living room, the bedroom and a spare room in the condominium my sister lives in (and where I evacuate when there's no Internet at home). So maybe this third item is something I'd really need...

A bookshelf. Yeah, you won't give me this. I have no price estimates, and I have really specific tastes. Lately I've been daydreaming of having the shelves from Muji - and their bed frame, too. But it'd be a nice place to store all my books, my copies of Monocle, and all my CDs, whether they be Western, Korean or local. And maybe something decorative, too, but then I don't really buy that sort of thing - at least not yet. I'm not at that point in my life yet. I'm still buying useless stuff like Mamamoo CDs - well, I am a Mamamoo fan, but my CDs are just part of a collection and don't get played often. This is where I am a completist. And have I told you I don't have all their albums yet?

The rest of Mamamoo's discography to date. Let's see what I'm missing... Hello, their debut; Piano Man, their second single; and their last three albums, Yellow Flower, Red Moon and the recently released Blue;S. That should be just around PHP 5,000, shipping included. You can buy these online. I can wait. I mean, I haven't bought everything in time. I don't have to, for one. Also, I've been busy. But I went to three stores in Hong Kong last month and failed to see a single Mamamoo album. They did have a concert there recently, after all. The MooMoos must have been out in force.

I would say "get me a VIP concert ticket" but that's for the really off chance that they'll be in Manila. I know I'm not a live music person but, you know, there are always exceptions.

But again, let's be honest. Why would you buy me those five CDs, or, in fact, any of these gifts? Or anything at all? I haven't been of any significance to you. I probably annoy you with my cynicism and my arguably non-conformist opinions. Or, worse, you're probably bored now, because this wish list has been long, and more critically, there are no photos. Also, nobody writes Christmas wish lists anymore. Also, I am not entitled to one. Only the most important influencers do, and in any case they'll get those for free, in exchange for a few well-timed hashtags. Maybe I can get a better laptop if I just whore myself out to our corporate overlords. Hell, I work in marketing and I hate the idea of influencers.

And also, since when was Christmas this commercial? All right, all right, it always has been. When I was a kid it was an unspoken rule that I have a new set of clothes on Christmas day itself - new shirt, new pants, new shoes. I haven't done this in years, mind you, both because it's not practical to have new clothes on this date alone, and because I just want to be comfortable in family reunions, where nobody is interested to know what you're up to. (They'll only talk to you if they want to show off how better they are, even if, really, they're not. No, you're objectively worse. You're a Duterte drone. You parrot Mocha Uson talking points on Facebook. You're fucking better than me?) That, and I'd rather buy new outfits for work. I need to update my socks and my shirts and maybe get another jacket. Maybe a cardigan one, or a tweed one. Does tweed work in this climate?

I haven't really bought gifts for many people in the past few years. I have been buying more for myself, across the year, because I have to feel better about myself across the year, rather on the one day when everyone else has to prove, as ostentatiously as possible, that they care. Well, I buy gifts for Shalla, and for my godchildren, or at least one of them, because the others are now old enough to just deserve cash in red envelopes. Apart from that, this is all just a slug we have to go through, once a year. At least we get a day off.

Still, if you aren't done with your gift shopping, and if you think I deserve it - and, good heavens, I hope you do - please consider this wish list. Even for my birthday? Please? No? All right. I expected that.

And your responses...

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