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Of carol evenings and Christmas

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a Santa Claus using sand and plastic bottles. File

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a Santa Claus using sand and plastic bottles. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Not once would Santa disappoint us! Much to our cheer and wonder, he would grant all our wishes

With only a few days left for Christmas, the sparkling merchandise and impressive displays in the markets evoke nostalgic memories of my childhood Christmas experiences, of which my grandfather was an important part.

In my growing-up years, our family consisted of father, mother, grandfather, brother, sister and me. Christmas meant family gatherings, a glittering tree, decorative lights, desserts, gifts, and of course, carols.

My grandfather had many Christian friends, many of whom were choir members in church, who would visit our place around Christmas, play music and sing carols. Watching young boys and girls singing and dancing in our drawing room was great fun for us children, but what was even more fun was to see our grandfather dress up in the Santa costume.

I recall how in the weeks preceding December 25, he would start reminding us that Santa won’t pay us a visit or bring us any gifts unless we sent him a Christmas wish list. This would prompt us to go into a huddle, have hours upon hours of discussion and put down a wish list complete with our names and address, which our grandfather would send to Santa’s official address: North Pole.

And not once would Santa disappoint us! Much to our cheer and wonder, he would grant all our wishes and we would wake up on Christmas morning to find bountiful gifts tucked under the tree. Better yet, sometimes, Santa, aka grandpa, would hide gifts and we would follow hints to find them.

It has been more than three decades since then. It was a lot of fun back then as a small child and it’s still fun now as a parent of two small children. I especially find the tradition of sending a wish list to Santa a great way to teach little ones the joys associated with anticipation, patience, sharing, receiving, gratitude and so on and appreciate the warmth of the Christmas spirit.

Looking back, I realise that if it wasn’t for our grandfather, we wouldn’t even have a Christmas celebration at our home in the first place. He was someone who believed in all faiths and had friends from different backgrounds and cultures, which is why in spite of the fact that we grew up in a Hindu home, we still celebrate Christmas with the same spirit as Guru Nanak Jayanti, Id and Deepavali.

My other vivid memory of Christmas is of our grandfather telling us the nativity story of Jesus with rhymes and pictures to bring us the essence of Christmas celebrations. I recognise its significance more now as a parent than ever before. Our children are the ones who absorb our values and traditions from us and carry them forward for another generation; they are the ones who make every celebration more fun, memorable and full of love, wrapping us in their joy and purity.

Christmas is still a few weeks away, but as I give final touches to this year’s Advent calendar, I can already see the glimpse of that joy on my children’s faces and sense the indomitable Christmas spirit and warmth that this magical time of the year brings to us. A Merry Christmas in advance. Let the magic begin!

rajeshkrishan77@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 6:01:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/of-carol-evenings-and-christmas/article30306405.ece

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