Christmas is here...

Away from home

Christmas is here...

Christmas is almost here and the City is brimming with activities. While Bengalureans are making elaborate plans for the holidays, expatriates in the City are also planning to celebrate the day in their own style. While some are staying home for the day, others will head out to bring in the festivities.

For most, like Iman Cordoviz, who is from the Philippines, Christmas is one of the biggest events of the year. “It is so big that we prepare for it months in advance. Some would even start buying Christmas gifts as early as September and by November, the buildings, houses and streets would already have their Christmas lights up. There would even be tall, big and colourful Christmas trees in public places,” she recollects.

Iman says that the Christmas spirit would be at its highest with all the stores offering sales and shopping centres bustling with people. “On December 24, relatives would usually gather in one house. At the stroke of midnight, everyone would start gathering around the Christmas tree, which would have gifts underneath. Only after everyone has unwrapped their gifts would the celebration die down, which would usually be well past midnight,” says Iman.

The day is a combination of traditional Filipino food and American food. “We would have the Christmas ham, pork barbecue, grilled hotdogs, spaghetti, fried chicken, and special Filipino desserts such as ‘ube jam’ and ‘leche flan’,” she says.

Iman says that not everyone celebrates Christmas here. “I found that there are only some who have Christmas parties and play Secret Santa here. It is not that Christmas is not celebrated here at all. But, coming from a place where Christmas is really big, we have to find our own way of making it special. We would probably just have dinner and give our gifts to each other on the day itself. For me though, it is going to be the most special Christmas I’ve had in years, because I finally get to spend it with my mother and sisters,” she says.

Others like Frances from Washington DC, who have been in the City for a while, feel that Christmas is all about being with the family. “Most of the holiday food that we make for Thanksgiving like turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy, pumpkin and pecan pie are made for Christmas. We also make eggnog, which is special for the day,” she says.

Frances says that she loves Christmas music and carols and loves baking during the season. “‘Silent Night’ is my favourite hymn. And even now when I hear the song, it brings tears to my eyes,” she says.

Stefan and Karin Berglin, from Sweden, have been in the City for one and half years and say that their Christmas celebration will be here. “Our family will be visiting us for the holiday. Back home, the day consists of food like ham with meatballs, special raw fish, and porridge,” says Karin. She adds that she’s looking forward to the house being full of dear ones from home. “We will be together, eat food that we like indulging in and have a lot of fun in this incredible City. A brunch at The Oberoi is on the plans,” she says.

Another Swedish couple, Kerstin and Steve Alexus say that they weren’t sure if the festival was big in the City and will be celebrating the holiday in Thailand.

“We weren’t sure if the holiday was celebrated here, but I can see that the Christmas spirit is definitely on! Back home, our festivities start from November end, when we start decorating the house. This holiday is a lot about gifting and decorating,” says Steve. Kerstin says that unlike the “snow and darkness” back home,  it is much warmer and brighter here.

Coline Philippon who is from Paris, says that she will be celebrating the holiday with friends here.

“Back home, it’s about gathering together and bringing in the festivities. Good food, family and friends and special moments is what Christmas is about. I’m going to celebrate Christmas at lunch with dear friends,” she says with a smile.

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