The Jolly Season

By on December 23, 2019
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Every element of the Christmas season brings people together over love and laughter

It’s the season of love, laughter, togetherness, divinity, peace and festivities which brings together family, friends and food at home where one can relish in all the three blessings of life.

Christmas is a time of forgiveness, wherein one forgives the wrong done unto them  to shed the burden of carrying grudges. It is the time of celebration, with family and friends gathered around a dinner table that groans under the weight of an immense and delicious gourmet meal.

It is the time of giving and receiving gifts with your loved ones, who plan all year to get you a perfect token that will bring a smile on your face. It is a time of imagination, wherein children,  guided by adults, create in their mind-space the magical figure of Santa Claus.

A boisterous man in red suit and white beard, carrying a huge bag of gifts to be delivered to children who have been good the entire year. He drives a sleigh led by Rudolph - the red-nosed reindeer - and is helped by  loyal elves. Interestingly, he also has a list of children who have been naughty the entire year and who only merit a lump of coal in their Christmas gift socks.

Christmas is a season of decoration - the entire family scrubs the house clean and sets up themed decorations around the house. Decorating the  tree is a great activity which brings the family together.

Lastly, the most important aspect of Christmas is rooted in the religious significance of the festival. It is a major Christian festival, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ that has gained immense cultural value across the globe. People participate in the festivities and celebrate when the spirit of Christmas is in the air - irrespective of whether they are of the Christian faith or not.

People belonging to different religions may visit churches to see the beautiful decorations, listen to the prayers or sermons, and interact with the other people to deepen their understanding of the culture. It is a festival that transcends national, social and cultural boundaries to be loved by all across the world. Billions of people come together to bow their heads and pray for a Christmas miracle.

One thing about these major festivals is that they tend to bring  loved ones together at home so that everyone can enjoy the feeling of togetherness. People travel back to their hometowns where the entire family gathers to cook food, make merry and rejoice in each other’s company.

At the heart of it, Christmas wards off the feeling of loneliness by bringing people together. It gives hope that next year will be better and more special than the last one. And during all this, if the description of festivities reminds you of another major festival - then yes, Diwali brings the same spirit of celebration every year.

Since the festival falls around the winter solstice, it is deeply and intrinsically attached to the spirit of winters. A perfect Christmas backdrop is imagined to be a snow-covered landscape which allows people to huddle in their blankets and quilts to cherish the warmth. However, this ideal background is tough to get for those living in the tropics.

Christmas allows one the opportunity to rise above what they want and be charitable to help those less fortunate. As Jesus Christ lived his life by helping others, similarly, one is encouraged to help those who are in need and share in the fortune of having good food to eat and drink. It is a way for us to connect with  people beyond the transactional relationship that forms the basis of most human interactions.

Especially these days, when despite having access to major social media platforms , people are more distant to each other than ever before. Bringing people together, giving them a common thread to connect across boundaries and by bonding with friends and family members by sharing a home-cooked meal, this is the true spirit of Christmas. 

A perfect Christmas Eve is incomplete without a special meal that is curated just for the festival -  Christmas dinner. The entire family comes together to create a beautiful bounty of stuffed chicken, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, exotic fruits, desserts, cakes, pies and wine.

Preparation begins at least a day to a week ahead since many of the dishes such as plum cake take time . The modern addition to this setting is French meringues, chicken curries, sannas (steamed rice cake), meat sausages, clafoutis, etc.

And after the meal has been consumed, one can sleep with the best case of food coma that only comes after indulging in an exceptionally wonderful feast.

Everyone gathers around the table, eating  food that has been cooked with love, laughing together, sharing in the joy of being with loved ones, smiling and telling wonderful stories, clinking  wine glasses under  twinkling Christmas decorations.

This is the joy of Christmas Eve - to be a part of the whole, to be with loved ones and to love and be loved back in return. In the end, all the Christmas celebrations are about expressing love, whether through food, gifts or decorations. When love and laughter casually runs around the table, then all the effort is worth it.

Christmas, without  traditional red and green decorations, feels empty even if you have all the other elements in place. There is a certain joy in making décor  with your own hands. It is another bonding experience which one can share with  loved ones.

Using DIY skills, one can create a few decorative pieces for the  tree to add a more personal touch. This adds more value to the décor, and the time spent making the  pieces brings the family closer.

Some people also like to re-create Christmas scene to allude to the birth of Christ. One can add a special decoration next to the  tree that displays various scenes from the night of the birth of Jesus Christ. Others keep a Christmas crib for baby Jesus to add to the  festive backdrop. Though this decoration is not compulsory many households re-create at least one scene from the hallowed night, either in their lawns, or living rooms. 

Another important, though modern, part of Christmas is good music to set up the Christmas spirit. Can you imagine celebrating Christmas without watching at least one sappy Christmas movie in which the good wins over evil, and everyone is happy at the end of the day?

It is also much better to cook and prepare for the festivities with a peppy Christmas tune playing in the background. One cannot help but hum the beautiful carols while buying the gifts, decorating the house, mashing the potatoes, etc. Good food, when complemented by good music, adds magic to the place and induces joy, laughter and happiness.

It is not a tough equation. Christmas is all about friends and family coming together to celebrate their presence in each others’ lives by making merry, eating good food and sharing the experience of gift-giving.

And just like that, Christmas is celebrated with love, happiness, cheers and prayers to  God to keep showering his blessings so that every Christmas could be just as merry.

Raji new


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