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So it is Christmas.....

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Kamla, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    There is Christmas all around me! There is no escaping this festive season here in the US! I have to correct that, there is no escaping Christmas and its festivities in most parts of the world today, as it is synonymous with holiday season, gifts and partying.

    “Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. It refers both to the day celebrating the birth; as well as to the season which that day inaugurates, and which concludes with the Feast of the Epiphany. The date of the celebration is traditional, and is not considered to be his actual date of birth. Christmas festivities often combine the commemoration of Jesus' birth with various cultural customs, many of which have been influenced by earlier winter festival”

    As such, we all know that Christmas starts off on the 24<sup>th</sup> of Dec, which is the eve of Christ’s birth and 25<sup>th</sup> being the actual celebration. Many countries stretch it into 26<sup>th</sup> Dec too, England calls it the Boxing Day ! Some Scandinavian countries actually celebrate it on the 6<sup>th</sup> December. But these days, no one seems to wait until those dates! Once winter sets in and the afternoons merge into the evening hues, the shops and malls deck themselves with the Christmas glitter, as early as October! If one is not smitten with the decorations, there is no escaping the tempting wares the shops spread out to attract the readily succumbing public. Children are the easy prey…how can they resist when even their dads want to try out the latest gadget in the form of a race car or a computer game! And for ladies….well, I don’t need to go into that, this being a mainly ladies forum, everyone can understand how hard it is to resist the temptation, be it the latest perfume, handbag or a kitchen gadget!

    Christmas has become so synonymous with holidaying and partying, one nearly forgets that it is a religious festival! Hence, here in America, the melting pot, one generally does not say “Merry Chirstmas”! I have learnt to say “Happy Holidays”!

    My first memories of X-mas are those of my school days. Having been to a convent school, X-mas really was a big deal. A huge Christmas tree was put up and was so beautifully decorated with colorful ornaments, little gift packets and lights. I was in awe of that tree! We were all assembled in the open yard and made to spot the plane in the sky which brought the Santa to India! And then, there was the Santa himself ( when older, I realized it was my sports teacher who was an Aglo-indian, pink , round and sweet!) who distributed gifts to us and sweets and chocolates! It felt really special ! Though our parents always bought us new clothes or even jewels for Deepavali, Ugadi etc, its impact was pretty insignificant to a child’s mind in comparison with the small plastic doll and toffee!!

    As time proceeded, I was to experience Christmas in its various colors and traditions from the different countries and cultures that I was exposed to.

    I was still very fresh ‘off the boat’ girl in England! Christmas memories of that time are mainly parties and fun. I was a young woman who was not much exposed to partying as such in India. There were many lovely parties which were all very new and fascinating to me. Those days, many parties were fancy dress parties with magic shows and other entertainments. Those were the days of flower power and minis and some of the parties did shock me a lot. But my interest was more about the way it was conducted, what arrangements one did and how they decorated etc. It slowly evoked my interest in learning to cook and bake food that was till then ‘foreign’ to me.

    Christmas in Europe is celebrated in its true sense. I learnt the beauty of Christmas in Europe, actually, in Germany. They start off on the 1<sup>st</sup> of December! It is called the Advent time which is a period of four weeks when they look forward to the arrival of Jesus Christ. Houses are decorated with X-mas decor, pictures, flower arrangements and candles, candles and candles! An arrangement with four candles adorns most houses and the first candle is lit on the first Sunday, two on the second and so forth and when all the four candles are lit, it is Christmas! Advent’s Calendar is another fun and interesting thing. The simplest is the one sold in the shops. It usually is a Christmas motive, for eg: Santa Claus or a Christmas tree etc and will have small twenty four little windows which can be pressed open and a little chocolate pops out!! Almost every child is given one and they then press each window everyday thus counting down to X-mas. A lot of mothers also create their own Advent’s calendar and fill it with little gifts for children. This is made even for moms and dads (though the mom makes it generally!!) and is filled with chocolates or even small gifts. In Europe, people mostly put up real Christmas trees with real candles. It is a feast for the eye when all the candles are lit. Also, the tree is put up only on the Christmas eve and not a day before that.

    In America, everything is easier! The American life style is really hectic and so is their Christmas. No worry about buying real trees or real candles here! Some do put up real trees, but plastic trees which open and shut like an umbrella (!) every Christmas is the common thing. Even if the trees are real, I am yet to see real candles being used on them! I can imagine it being a big fire hazard as all houses here are made of wood . As such, it is wiser to use the electric lighting. Very often, Americans put up their trees as early as Thanksgiving! The efforts some people take to light up their house and garden is something one has to see and enjoy, it is a show in itself!

    With so much Christmas around me, your’s truly also goes all the way and celebrates it! Yes, even now I have a ‘real’ little Christmas tree standing in my living room, although I have no reason for it at all :) Just a habit which we are finding difficult to break from! My first X-mas tree was bought in England for my little daughter’s sake, it was small, plastic and colorful and came out every year to adorn the small side table! When in Germany, I gradually followed all the traditional customs there ..adventskranz, advent’s calendar, real tree et al! We did not want to be left out of the festivities and I thought it was important for my children. The only difference was that we did a pooja at home when our German friends attended their Mass in the church!

    In America, I need not really do anything…. My daughter has her own tree and festivities ! No kids at home, nobody really wanting us to do anything for X-mas ! But, we continue to do!! And slowly, I am seriously thinking if I should once again acquire a plastic tree with colorful ornaments which can come out every year from my basement storage!! Next year perhaps?! For one thing, it is easier and cheaper. Secondly….Gosh, am I getting old?.......!!

    Here are links to pictures of the advent calendar and kranz, for those who want to check it out..
    And our Christmas tree-2007!

    Flickr: Photos tagged with adventskalendar
    Adventskranz - Wikipedia
     

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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2007
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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Kamla,
    Same pinch, samepinch !
    Being educated in a convent, Xmas celebrations have already fascinated me. I have always given more importance to the goodwill, such festivities usher !
    Kamla, please do not say
    Secondly….Gosh, am I getting old?.......!!
    I will be always be ahead of you, my Kamla - you can never catch up with me !
    In Ruby's house, Prarthana ( Thanu in IL) & Manasvini, have lovingly put up a Xmas tree ! I am enclosing the photo.
    I have just hung a big red star with light, in my balcony !
    Merry Christamas - Happy Holidays !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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  3. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Hugs Chithra!

    At the first instance, I thought you are posting My picture again!! Ha ha ha...Oh, how nice. Yes indeed, we do bond in many ways, don't we?!
    Nice tree....enjoyed the pic and your fb.

    L, Kamla
     
  4. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    hi kamla,

    Brought me back lot of memories...I am also from convent...was in the choir...still remember all those songs.....
     
  5. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    Yes The Season Is Great And All We Convent Influenced Females Should Let Our Hair Down And Make The Children Do Things That They Want, Happy Chitra To See You Hanging A Star And I Am Here Held Up Whether To Do That Or Not....i Will Follow Thee, And Kamala Yes It Must Be Heaven With All Those Decorations All Over, And One Can Never Stay Away From The Mood Of Festivities...my Daughter Chitra Planning A Nice Fruit Cake To Night Hope She Does It What With Her Catering So Busy..sunkan
     
  6. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Shanvy,

    It was nice to get a fb from you.
    Wow, choir singer amongst us!
    I have noted that you are very talented person with many interests. Your music knowledge is amazing. I enjoyed reading about the music concerts you have attended and your ability to analyze kirtanas and ragas. Although I love music, I am not blessed with such an astute ear.

    L, Kamla
     
  7. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sunkan,

    Your interest in varied things is really infectious! You take one on to various time spans with all your reminisces.
    Looks like there is quite a batch of us with nostalgic memories of school.
    As I live in the west, it is not a big deal for me to be influenced by what is happening around me.
    But I admire you, Chithra and the rest who make the effort to be with times living in India.
    I must appreciate your daughter for wanting to bake a fruitcake for X-mas and the effort that Thanu and Manasvini have taken to put up such a beautiful X-mas tree in their home. It may be fun, but it also is a reflection on their toleration and open mindedness. One cannot forget their parents and elders who have instilled it in them.
    With such a tolerant young generation, we have every hope for real Peace!

    L, Kamla
     
  8. pinkpearls

    pinkpearls Senior IL'ite

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    I love the feeling of Christmas time.....white snow, lights, tree, cakes....ofcourse Holidays......I will njoy a snow christmas day with hot chocolate.......Fa La La La LAa....La La La La :thumbsup
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  9. iyerviji

    iyerviji Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Kamla

    I thought this is the latest post. Thanks to Pearls for reviving this thread. There will be so many in Q to give fb tothis thread

    I am also from Convent and this brought me back memories of school days and visiting friends house during Christmas and the enjoyment we had.
     
  10. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    dear kams,

    I was wondering what had happened to snippets in one day. I see kamla writing, sunkan, Shan and chitvish with their fbs…. till dear viji brought me down to earth by mentioning that it was an old post. Ohhhhh so that was how snippets was in the 2007's, is it?:)

    I have always thought how good it would be if you (actually there is a list of ppl in that category and I will mention it surely some day) wrote and yey I was right !

    There is something about this 20th to jan 1st period that has me in high spirits. I was wondering whether to put up my tree since even Mri is not here(now that's a thought that keeps coming again and again and she says amma it is just an excuse for your laziness and she is right.:hide: ) but now after reading your post I have decided that I MUST .The post may be old but it does bring in the yule tide spirit into IL.!!! :thumbsup
     
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