We Need To Put The Magic Back Into Christmas...
- Anjuly Mathai
Story Dated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 16:9 hrs IST
I’m thankful to Enid Blyton for letting me imagine into existence a world of pixies and enchanted forests, of scones slathered with butter and tall glasses of pink lemonade, of dolls that come alive at night and little girls who brush their golden hair one hundred times before going to bed. She also let me believe in a fat dude who climbs down a chimney every Christmas and fills your stocking with goodies.
Hailing from a Syrian Christian family in Kerala, I have fond memories of Christmas. No one ever let me hang a stocking outside my door but every Christmas morning, my parents would gift me something small – usually just a crayon set or a packet of glow-in-the-dark stars. Something they picked up in a hurry the previous day, probably, but it meant a lot. It contributed to the Christmas feeling. Later we’d take out the weathered brown cardboard box under the staircase to decorate the Christmas tree. A string on which Christmas cards were hung would straddle the drawing room.
In school, as part of the Christmas program, they’d always have a tableau of a sad-looking Mary staring down at baby Jesus, surrounded by a handsome Joseph (played by the best looking guy in school), the three wise men and some shepherds and goats – I was usually the latter. At home we’d be subjected by my mother to our local YWCA group’s Christmas program. I remember being asked to emcee once along with another girl. Apparently, I did a poor job because I announced the name of the priest without adding Father before it. (An inexcusable oversight, I was told.)
But the best memories of Christmas are of going carol singing with my cousins, singing loudly, hitting notes only animals can hear – and being rewarded for it. Fluttering our eye lashes and cute-talking our way into five rupees or sometimes ten.
Later, we grew up. Everyone got scattered and the tradition fizzled out. Christmas became a routine day – one of the worst casualties of adulthood.
Last year, after a long hiatus, we reinstated the tradition of exchanging gifts on Christmas day. My mother opened a bottle of wine and my father did some acrobatics with the barbecue grill, so we had burnt chicken. It wasn’t like before – nobody experiences Christmas the way children do – but it was something.
Christmas is a magical time of year, if only we let it be...