How homes in Thiruvananthapuram get a makeover for Christmas

Home-proud residents on bringing home the Christmas cheer

Updated - December 22, 2023 06:04 pm IST

Published - December 22, 2023 05:20 pm IST

Maya Gomez likes decorating her Christmas  tree with Indian handmade ornaments.

Maya Gomez likes decorating her Christmas tree with Indian handmade ornaments. | Photo Credit: Maya Gomez

It feels like Christmas again. With silver bells, Christmas trees, stars and glitter on every street corner, it is the time of the year when homes get a makoever in Christmas colours of red, green, white, gold and silver. Big or small, every home gets into the festive fervour with ornaments in every room and Christmas trees and nativity sets getting pride of place.

Hand-crafted decor

Architect and artist Maya Gomez says she likes to usher in the Christmas spirit by the first week of December itself. “The colour scheme of red brightens the house. Moreover, I ensure I have warm lights in my house and lots of fairy lights to give it a welcoming glow. Then comes arranging my collection of ornaments, decorating the Christmas tree and the house in the season’s colours.”

Christmas decorations at Maya Gomez’ home in Thiruvananthapuram. 

Christmas decorations at Maya Gomez’ home in Thiruvananthapuram.  | Photo Credit: Maya Gomez

Given India’s rich tradition of crafts and handlooms, Maya is a keen collector of artefacts and ornaments and her collection has grown over the years to include handicrafts from many regions in India.

“I have ornaments with zardozi embroidery, papier mache bells and stars with enamel work and so on. I even have a flat, wooden Santa carrying a green parrot that I got from one of the stores in Kovalam. My tree’s skirt is an embroidered skirt from Gujarat,” she says.

She recalls how the previous generation took pains to collect ornaments for the crib and get the tree from abroad because there wasn’t much to choose from in India.

To express her solidarity with residents of Bethlehem, Maya Gomez has made a model of a town with bottles and lids of Christmas-themed biscuit tins.

To express her solidarity with residents of Bethlehem, Maya Gomez has made a model of a town with bottles and lids of Christmas-themed biscuit tins. | Photo Credit: Maya Gomez

“Now, we have plenty of options and I like to decorate my home with what is at hand. I have a huge collection of pretty bottles and biscuit tins that are themed on Christmas. So, I fill the bottles with lights. This time, I have made a model of the town of Bethlehem with decorated bottles and biscuit tins with images of Christmas.” The town symbolises Maya’s concern for the people of Gaza and Bethlehem where there is unrest.

For Maya, the crib set is important to remind us about what the occasion is all about. Hers is an old one that she got from St. Joseph’s Press in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Christmas look is maintained till Epiphany that falls on January 6.

Treasure trove

Christmas decorations at Sunu Mathew’s home in Thiruvananthapuram.

Christmas decorations at Sunu Mathew’s home in Thiruvananthapuram. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

It’s a year-long effort for homemakers Sunu Mathew and her daughter-in-law Sachu Baiju. Sunu’s collection of bric-a-brac, home linen and baubles, carefully curated from many places over the years, are aesthetically arranged in every nook and corner of their home. Chair covers, cushions, table linen in red, green and white make the dining room a place for the family to gather for the grand spreads during the festival.

Sunu Mathew collects Christmas ornaments from all over the world.

Sunu Mathew collects Christmas ornaments from all over the world. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

They start doing up the house by November-end and refer to pictures and ideas on social media.

“Our Christmas tree is 24 years-old. It was given to my mother-in-law by a family friend when she came from Dubai. We thought we would wait till it is 25 before going in for a new one. Wherever my mother-in-law travels to, she makes it a point to buy something for the festival,” says Sachu.

A 24-year-old Christmas tree is the star in Sachu Baiju’s home in Thiruvananthapuram. 

A 24-year-old Christmas tree is the star in Sachu Baiju’s home in Thiruvananthapuram.  | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

They buy something new every year to decorate the tree. The home linen has been customised for their house.

She says her two boys have been told to be extremely careful when the house is done up for Christmas.

Sachu says with a laugh that while she loves putting up the ornaments, it is Sunu who packs everything in bubble wrap, each item labelled and carefully stored for another season. Even the tree is carefully washed and wrapped to be kept aside for next Christmas.

Next year, they plan to decorate the garden too. “I have requested an aunt who is coming from the US to get fairy lights and other ornaments for the garden,” she adds.

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