The Christmas Special

I am a Christmas person. Yes, I get excited about Christmas right from October. It is my favourite time of the year. I start a Christmas countdown and make plans for the festive season. As it gets closer to Christmas I play Christmas carols all day sometimes. My Christmases as a child were very special. It took my kids a long time to get used to the idea and understand why it meant so much to me.

The change in weather – it’s winter here in India, brings with it that festive spirit and feeling. Christmas is that time of the year when most families come together to celebrate. There are traditions passed on from generation to generation.

I remember as a kid, the excitement during this season. We went Carol singing in the neighbourhood, had carol singing competitions with different schools and choirs, a Christmas party in school just before we closed for the vacation, all of this building up the excitement to the Christmas Tree and Treat on 24th December, Christmas Eve. As a child, this used to be the highlight of the season. On this day every year, we dressed up in our Christmas best and were taken to the Railway Institute (North) in Hubli where the Christmas Tree and Treat was organised. Santa Claus distributed gifts to all the kids, there were games and prizes to be won. To us back then it this was what Christmas was all about.

While in our homes the preparations went on with much enthusiasm. Homes were painted, sweets made, new clothes stitched and the house decorated with the Christmas tree and the Crib(Nativity scene). Building the Crib was my Dad’s responsibility and he always did a fantastic job of it.

The many traditions of Christmas are popular across the world.

Family Getting together:

“At Christmas, all roads lead home” The most important aspect of Christmas all over the world is to spend time with family and friends, no matter how we celebrate it. Christmas Day, for many busy families, is the one day of the year when everyone makes the time for family get-togethers. 

Christmas Tree:

The first documented use of a tree at Christmas is argued between the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. Both claim that they had the first trees; Tallinn in 1441 and Riga in 1510. Both trees were put up in the town square and were danced around before being set on fire. I was lucky to be in both places in December 2019. The pictures of the trees below are of the town squares.

The tradition of the decorated Christmas tree in homes first originated in Germany. Christians brought home decorated trees or built wooden pyramids and decorated them with evergreen branches and candles. The modern-day Christmas tree is decorated with tinsel, baubles, lights, and ornaments and is a very prominent feature of the festival. Gifts are wrapped and kept under the tree. While the Christmas tree takes main stage, homes are decorated with stockings hung out on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill with toys and candies, colourful lights, the Star and wreaths of Holly and Ivy, and the Mistletoe.

Christmas Cards

The First Christmas Card

Sending Christmas cards to family and friends is a tradition that is still very popular today. Many include a family picture. Sending Christmas cards started in England in 1843. Before this time, people used to send private notes wishing Merry Christmas, this was also done for births and to wish a Happy New Year. Sir Henry Cole was a busy man and did not have the time to write personal messages for Christmas in 1843, although he didn’t want to just not send any. So he hired an artist called John Calcott Horsley and got him to design a card that could be sent off straight away.

Christmas Lunch and Dinner

The Christmas lunch or dinner is a grand meal of dishes special to each country. In India, some of the popular dishes are Biryani, Vindaloo, Chicken roast. There are many spectacular culinary traditions across the world. Food has always had a ritualistic meaning and it has carried a ton of symbolism. When you sit down to enjoy food for your Christmas lunch or dinner this year, think about everything on the table and know there’s a reason why the specific meal is being made.

Christmas Sweets

Christmas sweets are a collection of the famous fruit cake made with rum and raisins, Sponge cake, Ribbon cake, Marzipan, Marshmallows, Rose cookies, Kulkuls, Bebinca, Guava Cheese, and many more. Most of the sweets are made at home. The making of sweets is like a ritual, the whole family takes part in.

Christmas drinks

Eggnog

There are quite a few drinks that are common around Christmas, Ginger wine, Hot chocolate and Eggnog. Since the weather is usually cold in December, many people enjoy hot drinks at Christmas.

Eggnog usually served cold is made from milk or cream and eggs and usually has some spices. Many people add liqueur to it, like amaretto or rum.

Midnight mass

Many families go to church for mass or Church service, and there are often midnight masses on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The tradition of a midnight mass on the eve of Christmas began in the East and was observed in the late fourth century in Jerusalem. The tradition reached the Western world in the year 430.

Nativity scene (Crib)

Nativity scene at my home.

Churches and homes put up a Nativity scene on display during the holiday season. Jesus was born in a manger surrounded by animals. The nativity scene is a depiction of the birth of Baby Jesus and has Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the three wise men, and farm animals.

Christmas Carols

There are many special songs for Christmas called Christmas carols. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived. Some of the most popular ones are “Jingle Bells”, “Rudolph the red nose reindeer”  “Joy to the World,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night.” And if you walk past my house any time during this season you will definitely hear one of these. 😃

Santa Claus

Santa in Lapland

“May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve.”

Santa Claus (also called Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas) is this jolly old man with a long white beard and a sack filled with presents for good boys and girls. He lives in the North Pole and travels around the world on a sleigh that is drawn by reindeer and enters homes magically through chimneys on Christmas Eve leaving presents for children. Santa has a naughty or nice list and the world is full of good little kids during the Christmas season. 😁

Above all, Christmas is the birth of Jesus and symbolises Hope, Peace, Love, Kindness and care. There’s Christ in CHRISTMAS.

Now here’s for something not traditional and I hope you have fun trying it

Christmas tongue twisters

  • Running reindeer romp ’round red wreaths
  • Chilly chipper children chant cheerfully
  • Eleven elves licked eleven little licorice lollipops
  • There’s chimney soot on Santa’s suit
  • Frosty froze frequently, furthermore fell on frozen frost freezing his fiddly thumbs
  • Prancer presents pumpkin pies and presents
  • Pretty packages perfectly packed in paper
  • Tiny Timmy trims the tall tree with tinsel

7

8,426 Replies to “The Christmas Special

  1. Very well penned down as usual Doma. It brought back memories of my childhood in the railway quarters where we used to go carol singing with our neighbors.wish we could go back in time.

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  2. Co – incidentally when I opened the link to read this blog,the song ‘Christmas Memories’ by Alabama was playing. I couldn’t read further or listen to the song for a while after that.

    Over the years there has been a lot of change as Christmas came home. But we held on tight to what we were taught Christmas is supposed to be like and did everything we could to make it the best family time,creating the best memories ever. Every year has a different beautiful story we can look back on,when we go down the ‘Christmas’ memory lane.

    This will be the first Christmas away from family, the celebrations and those wonderful trips we made together. But we will all make it memorable in our own little ways, expecting brighter days to come back soon to stay.

    ❤️As these un avoidable circumstances are keeping us all apart. 💓
    💗Christmas will still be Christmas when you’ve got family in your heart.💕

    1. We will be together in spirit Lorenzo and there will be more Christmases and more memories to create.
      This year has brought with it a lot of uncertainties, yet it has also taught us to value family more than we already did. And we will be together for Christmas even if its only in our dreams. 💕💕💕💕

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  3. Brilliant piece of writing, Doma. You helped bring back all the warm, fuzzy fun feels that is Christmas. Keep on writing and sharing stuff that we sometimes take for granted. God bless 😘💞

  4. Brilliant write up….Made me remeber the times that we use to visit ur place n all the stories that u used to tell us…

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  5. Memories, if only we had a chance to relive them just Once!! Every single memory up there came back while reading. Mum and Dad and everything they did to make Christmas the best. Ĺoved it. Praying this Christmas adds to the Memories. 🥰🥰🥰

  6. So well written Doma. It took back to school days. I remember going to Anna’s house and having yummy food and sweets, rose cookies and kulkuls were my favourite 😁

  7. Reading this blog sends this wave of excitement down my spine. The best time of the year with so much love and kindness in the air.. thank you for putting down all our memories and our traditions and how we spend Christmas muma so so proud of you keep it up 💜🦄 love you

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