Christmas is almost synonymous with traditions, which everyone knows of and picks the ones they or their family would like to enjoy. But as Lemony Snickett pointed out – just because something is traditional, there is no reason to do it, of course. So if the normal, storybook Christmas traditions don’t suit your out-of-the-ordinary preferences, or if the holiday humdrum has become too much for you, here are some ideas you could adopt to liven up the season. To document a ‘Mumbai Christmas’, we’ve also spoken to a bunch of people around the city, who told us what they would be doing, or have done differently, for Christmas.
Decorating your house needn’t be a chore any longer!
To kick start the festivities, you could turn it into a Christmas party and call people over to help. Hardly any objections are raised once someone has enjoyed a few glasses of mulled wine. In fact, the more the merrier (friends and glasses of wine alike.) Not only will you have successfully decorated your house with input and help from others, but it soon turns into a party that people look forward even years later. Also, taking pictures through the process helps keep the enthusiasm up! Here’s 5 Easy DIY Christmas Decorations you can make.
Sonia Menezes : Decorating the tree sometimes becomes a bore because of the standard decorations you’ve been putting up for years. To combat that, my grandmother began putting up small, individual pictures of family members, strung together with tinsel onto the tree. Not only did it make the tree far more interesting to look at, but every year, we are always anxious to see which picture she has selected of us to decorate the tree with.
Nothing helps usher in the Christmas spirit more effectively than Christmas carols do!
Whether you love Christmas or you’re nicknamed ‘The Grinch’, everyone has at least one favorite. But how about channeling all that Christmas spirit someplace different this time? We heard about students that regularly visit orphanages and homes for the aged to spread the Christmas cheer through music, and they’ve been doing a great job. Mumbai Christmas nights take on a magical quality when strains of small groups caroling, reach our ears. Carols are for everyone to enjoy, and if you want to really bring back the true spirit of Christmas, you will love the experience of putting a smile on someone else’s face.
Smita Vyas Kumar: Every year, I organize a choir of kids from the building to sing Christmas carols. At first, I started with 14 kids. This year, I’m training 40! After that, we also have a big society building party with fancy dress competitions, etc. We even wrote a themed Mumbai Christmas song!
Check out their super creative song here.
Mumbai Christmas = Giving Back
In fact, if you aren’t musically inclined and you still want to make a difference, you could consider buying some snacks or goodies to give away to the kids you might come across on the streets.If you’ve never done something like this before, you will love the first hand experience of how much more joy there is in giving than in receiving. Mumbaiites are known to have big hearts and what better time to be generous than during a Mumbai Christmas?
Marc Morais: “Every year at Christmas, my mom and I take a Santa along with us to brick kilns and construction sites and make those underprivileged kids happy. She makes them dance, gives them a good lunch, goodies and chocolates…”
Back to what most of us associate Christmas with – food!
Sometimes the standard turkey, roast chicken, or their appropriate Christmas-y vegetarian counterparts lose their appeal, but to counter that, you could always spice things up a little! Celebrate Christmas with tacos and quesadillas if you’re feeling a little Mexican. Or have a Chinese Christmas lunch instead. Maybe even Thai, Italian or Japanese would liven up your day, whatever your favorite is. There is no need to stick to the Christmas standards just because they make for good pictures. In a Mumbai Christmas, the spread is sometimes eclectic, as we’ll see below-
Rohini D’souza: My family bonds over Chinese food on Christmas Day
Samoneh Khan: We are all big foodies, so we tend to do things centered around food. The year before last, we made a Shepherd’s pie and lit scented candles and sang songs around the piano. Last Christmas, we put up pretty lights, had fondue and played Taboo.
And here’s more from people around the city-
Yohaan Roger Pulimoottil: 24th night is traditional midnight mass but Christmas day is the best! The whole family is divided into 2 teams and we play games like shot putt, 100 meter race and cricket, in the morning. In the afternoon, there’s lots of drinking and we play our traditional card game called ‘28’. Then comes the best part, Christmas lunch. So Christmas with the family is pretty great!
Denize D’silva, Rachel Dias, Chantelle Menezes: Last Christmas, we erected a blanket fort using a clothes stand, a ladder, stool and tons of blankets. And of course, we used lots and LOTS of fairy lights! We snuggled in, watched My Best Friend’s Wedding, drank lots of wine and ate mini apple pies…”
Abraham: We try to wait for the 24th to open gifts, but of course no one is that patient. Everyone comes home for the holidays from all corners of the globe. Being a crescent moon state, there’s red and red everywhere. People in burkhas and dishdashas buying snowflakes and santa chocolates. Salaam Al Xmas!
Mitali Pinto: Mass on the 24th and then Christmas ball at the Mangalore club. Then to the beach! The next morning we open gifts and thereafter it’s lunch and dinner with all the family and friends
Now we’ve seen what a Mumbai Christmas is like, I hope these ideas helped inspire you to do something different this holiday season. As much as we love the old Christmas traditions, we love the new, offbeat ones even more. Everyone should find their own way to celebrate something, and the more ways there are, the more universal the celebration gets.
We would love to hear some of your ideas, or how any of these ideas turned out for you and your friends!