Getting into the Christmas Spirit

by Sharell शारेल on December 19, 2011

in Festivals in India

Post image for Getting into the Christmas Spirit

This will be the third Christmas that I’ve been living in Powai, but the first Christmas I’ve actually spent here (the previous two were in Australia). There’s a wonderful festive atmosphere, with Christmas trees and lights everywhere.

Unfortunately, I’ve been so consumed by the launch of my book in India that I’ve hardly had time to think of Christmas approaching. Yesterday, I decided to get into the community Christmas spirit by attending a “Green Christmas”, organised by the Young Environmentalists, at the Rodas Ecotel.

For me, not coming from a religious family, Christmas has always simply been a happy time to spend with loved ones. However, there’s nothing like Christmas carols to get into the spirit and spread cheer. Yesterday, the choir featured local underprivileged kids who all received gifts from Santa.

It is starting to feel a lot like Christmas!

4 people like this post.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

TAMASHA! December 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Looking quite ‘fetching’ in that Santa hat, Sharell!
We put up our fake Chinese Xmas tree, but the kittens keep trying to climb it & knock it down.
Doing lots of holiday entertaining at my gallery, making gluhwein, eggnog, gingerbread, panettone, Dundee fruitcake & other assorted treats!

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Hubby was also forced to wear a hat, but I don’t think he’d appreciate it if I posted his pic here! :-P

Sounds like so much fun at your gallery! Enjoy the festive season.

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Raghavan December 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I remember in school ( I went to a christian convent school), they used to have a Santa Claus and most kids would run to Santa and stand in queue to sit on his lap. The idea usually is to ask for something from Santa when he asks if you have been a good boy all year, but no…most of us kids had more fun pulling his fake white beard :P.
Our Santa had a big red bag too except it had nothing in it, he would keep all the candies in his pockets :) When I got my turn,I was like ‘ Dude, you are so not real now can I have my candies’ :P

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Sharell December 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Ha! Why am I not surprised. ;-)

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Chanakya December 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I know if this is not logical thinking , but after seeing an Indian devotional song being removed from a school District in America and Gita on the verge of being banned in Russia and called as ‘Extremist’ , ‘Racist’ and ‘Discriminatory’ text , I seriously don’t find the sight of Christmas any more joyful.It hurts.

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I seriously don’t find the sight of Christmas any more joyful.

Do you mean you don’t find the sight of Christmas joyful anymore? Saying you don’t find Christmas “any more” joyful implies that you don’t find it more joyful than something (which you haven’t defined).

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Chanakya December 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Yes , the first one.But Its all so confusing.I meant to say that there is a conflict within my inner-self between my religious-tolerance and my religious-prestige.All these years I celebrated Christmas with the same excitement as I celebrated Diwali.But what is happening in the world against Hinduism make all this bonhomie by us look like fake , hollow and one-sided.

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Hmmm, well the answer to your problem is that you should just celebrate without care and expectations. If you enjoy celebrating Christmas, and get meaning from it, your celebrations shouldn’t be conditional on Christians liking Hinduism or being tolerant towards it in return. Your celebrations should be based on the joy you get from it as an occasion. Look at it this way: just because there are some rather offensive Indian men doesn’t mean they’re all offensive. ;-) Just because there are some extreme Christians who are against Hinduism, doesn’t mean that they all feel that way. I haven’t been following the situation, but do these people even understand Hinduism, or are their objections just based on ignorance? I’m sure these people must be ignorant to be carrying on in such a way or just have a blind one-sided view of things — and if that’s the case, why even bother with what they think. Unfortunately, Christianity is a religion that has a lot of different interpretations and extremists. However, Jesus was a great man who contributed a lot, so don’t let those extremists get in the way of what’s important, which is his celebrating his birthday. Take a spiritual and not religious perspective. :-)

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Chanakya December 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm

You are right.That is the way to fight extremism.Just like people from Mumbai took part in a flash mob which was singing and dancing on the song ‘Rang De Basanti’ on 26/11 to deride those terrorists who struck Mumbai 3 years back on same day.

Let me celebrate Christmas this year even louder to jeer those Christian extremist all over the world and let them know our ‘extremist-tolerance’ which we have learned from the ‘extremist’ piece of text , Geeta. ;)

Merry Christmas :)

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm

That’s the spirit!! :-D

And Merry Christmas to you too.

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Ashli December 22, 2011 at 1:18 am

I didn’t hear about a school district banning an Indian devotional. Was it a Public school district? If so the argument was probably a separation of church and state issue rather than anti Hindu sentiment. Public schools are prohibited from taking part in the promotion or celebration of any religious holidays. In fact they changed the school break once widely referred to a Christmas break to Winter break because someone rightfully made the argument that it was unconstitutional for it to be labelled so. I am sorry about the Russian thing though. I don’t believe the government should be involved in censorship.

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Thomas the atheist January 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

/*However, Jesus was a great man who contributed a lot, so don’t let those extremists get in the way of what’s important, which is his celebrating his birthday. Take a spiritual and not religious perspective. */

Birthday

Firstly ,There is not a single line in bible which talks about Jesus birth on December 25.Christmas was a pagan festival , celebrated as winter solstice after winter equinox.It was celebrated as sol invictus (commemorating lord mithras’ birth) in Rome and yuletide in Germanic countries.The Christmas tree , the yule log , the wreath and mistletoe are all non christian in origin.The church recently admitted that it has nothing to do with saint Nicholas(supposed Santa Claus/pagan Wodan) whom it perceived as a “pagan deity” .Scholarly community is unanimous in assigning pagan origin to Christmas

Many orthodox churches(true Jesus church ,church of god ,Amish Mennonites , Jehovah’s witness , Pentecostals , Nazarenes ,CA) do not celebrate Christmas.It was also banned in England during puritan movement.

So the celebration of birth does not hold ground , except for religious believers

After centuries of research , it turns out that historic yahushua (real Jesus) was not an exceptional man at all , bearing not even an iota of resemblance to the biblical savior.The biblical scholarship is now adamant that Christ was just another man annually sacrificed at the ritual of Tammuz (like historic Barabbas).Some Biblologists say that he also battled psychological disorders.The church of nativity was a Tammuz temple and there existed no independent cult of Jesus apart from that of Tammuz in Jerusalem during the early days

Jesus the great man

As of mythical biblical christ great indeed he is , for he surely said plenty of nice things

But he also said a few not so nice things like

He was not sent to deliver peace but sword

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

He wants to set a man against father

10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

He calls non jewish cannanite woman a dog

Matthew 15:22-28 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

and many more

Chanakya I rather celebrate a secular Christmas deeming it the celebration of nature and sun as it originally was .Since none of the Christmas celebrations(including carols) have a biblical origins , an atheist like me could celebrate Christmas entirely in its current form which includes decorating Christmas tree and placing Venus star atop.

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Hélène December 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Hey Chanakya, I also have reasons not to feel joyful about Christmas this year. However, on the day, I try to connect to what it really means. Christmas to me is like Diwali. When it is very dark outside, don’t forget to let your own light shine ;)

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Chanakya December 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

But I can see Sharell is being more young as the years are passing.

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shihab December 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

happy Xmas

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Cyn December 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Merry Christmas,
I must have been in the area before the festivities kicked in Yesterday, darn!
The Christmas spirit is going strong in my home, with baking, the tree, the gifts and meal plans. The good thing is that when you have kids you have even more of a license to go all out during the festvities :)

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Oh, that’s a shame you missed it. It started at 5 p.m.

Your place sounds really festive! (Unlike mine. lol).

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Bronwyn December 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm

The kids are adorable, and Powai looks beautiful! As discussed, I must get out “that side” more often ;)

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm

You really must!! And convince other people to as well. The Renaissance does a great Sunday brunch by the lake.

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Bronwyn December 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

Actually, one of the only other times I’d been to Powai was for that brunch… and it did not disappoint! :D

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Hélène December 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm

That sounds nice. I don’t get the concept of “Green Christmas” though (couldn’t find it on their website). This year we haven’t bought a tree, only branches around a white candle and flowers. I’m getting weirder every year :)

Next issue is the 24th of December is new moon day so hubby will be vegetarian grrr

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Oh, for Green Christmas they were encouraging the use of eco-friendly lamps etc, as well as green carry bags (you know, material ones and not plastic) and other things.

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Makk December 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Xmas…ahh i want to b somewhere icy & snowy..:)

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Manali!!! I really want to go there one year for a white Christmas.

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TAMASHA! December 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I can see snow covered Himalayas all around tucked away here in my little ‘Shangri-La’, it’s supposed to get down to 0 degree Celsius here tonight!

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Sharell December 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Right, that’s it…I’m coming to visit you instead!

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koolj December 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

Hi Tamasha

Do u live near the himalayas??Where exactly???

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Jenn December 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

Ahh, to like the snow again.
We just got some more, but it wasn’t a lot. Apparently the mountains are getting less this year due to La Nina. Less for all the skiers and snowboarders. Ah well.

Fortunately not below 0F this time. Brrr.

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koolj December 20, 2011 at 12:04 am

I wish xmas was some working day this year instead of a sunday.I dont even get a day off for xmas this time.too bad…

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White Bhabi December 20, 2011 at 10:05 am

Merry Christmas!! Looks like quite an event. I wish I could find out about stuff like that here but I don’t ever see anything in the news until after it’s already over lol.

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Sharell December 20, 2011 at 11:02 am

Yeah, I know what you mean… or you see it advertised for the first time just a day before hand, which leaves little time to get organised (I like to plan a week in advance still, but am slowly becoming more spontaneous. lol).

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Amit K December 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

I am agreeing with one of the comment above. You are looking more younger by the years passing. :) . Well wishing you Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you and ur family and all the fellow blog readers!!!! Cheers. :)

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Sharell December 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

It’s really strange, because I actually feel like I’m getting younger. I just don’t seem to be aging at all.

Thanks for the good wishes! :-D

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sagar (ocean) December 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I noticed this too – from your pictures.
Is there some secret? Are you doing some special yoga or following some special diet? or a lot of red wine?
My guess is that you have joined some hatha or kriya yoga class.

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Sharell December 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I joke that plastic surgery is cheap in India. ;-) My diet is always healthy, and I take multi-vitamins every day (and have done so for a long time). Wine, definitely, usually once or twice a week. No yoga or anything like that. Maybe it’s just cos I’m feeling inspired, motivated, and alive! And my life is quite stress free too. :-)

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Sharell December 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Another thing too, I’m lucky I have good genes in my family. My parents are both aged 60 in this photo.

http://www.whiteindianhousewife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/IMG_4625a.jpg

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Chanakya December 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Sharell ,

Good genes ? Are you somehow related to Hitler ? ;)

Yes , your parents are too young for their age.Was it an arranged or love marriage ? Now don’t say arrange marriages don’t happen in Australia or in western world.In the movie Titanic , Kate winslet was ‘arranged’ to be married to that guy before Leonardo Di Caprio foiled their plans.

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Sharell December 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

It was very much a love marriage. My dad was working as a bouncer (doorman/security) to earn some extra cash at the rock n roll dances in the late 1960s. She caught his eye and he pursued her. A year later, they were married.

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sagar (ocean) December 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Sharell,
Who are those ladies standing next to you?
Are they Indian (bollywood?)? Cannot figure it out.

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Sharell December 22, 2011 at 12:22 am

The one in the white top was the guest of honour — she’s an actress/model named Ananya Dutta. Originally from Kolkata but now in Mumbai.

http://www.ananyadutta.com/

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sagar (ocean) December 22, 2011 at 11:16 am

I would have believed you if you had said that the man in the picture
(your dad) is your big brother !
Anyway, so it is the genes!
-Sagar

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padma Narayanaswamy December 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

Merry Christmas and a Halppy New year to you and all our friends here.

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tulletha December 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

namaste, sharell!

i have been surfing the internet looking for information on marriage to india men, and legal requirements for the whole proceedure and came accross your site!

Amazing work girl! i am from nz myself and moved here nearly three months ago ,i for a potential job at a bungy jumping site in rishkesh, uttarakhand. I work in the outdoor industry, adventure stuff, rafting kayaking guiding teaching etc. unfortunately the job i came here for feel through, so now i am left job less and no idea about my future! having been a lady of leisure the last two months or so,as much as i am enjoying it i would love to find work here! alongside of that when i first arrived i met an india man too, he worked as a guide too at the site. he persued me from the start but i wasnt sure, however now we are together, i met his family his week, they are very traditional, and there are talks of marriage on the cards now. things have all happened unexpectedly, and if my family and friends at home had something to say about it all it would be that im being irripsonsible, crazy, etc
it has been great for me to know that someone else has been through similar times and to find your site and read through your journey, now i feel , for me things can work out, i have prepared myself for the diffulcult times (mentally) knowing there will be a few! if you have any hot tips on being an indian house wife, and working alongside the indian family i would love to hear them! :)

thank you for your time , and words have a merry christmas!!!

namaste jii

tulletha

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sagar (ocean) December 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm

namaste tullettha ji,
you seem like a sincere person.
If he loves you, he cannot use his traditional family as an excuse to not marry you. That would be cowardice.
By law, they cannot force him to marry against his will.
And if he is Hindu, you can remain Christian(if u r) and continue going to church. No rule in hinduism requires you to convert – nor is there any rule prohibiting marriage with a person of another religion.
One thing I would strongly advice (even if you had been Indian):
After marriage, please live in a separate house/apartment with your husband- please do not live with his parents. It usually creates problems even if the husband wife are getting along fine. Even if you live next door that is OK. But not in the same house. I wish you happiness and success in your life , hope things work out well for you.
Sharell is very smart and will be able to give more tips. You can also post any questions in her forum.
I am an Indian(US based) guy – so its not exactly a woman’s advice -:)

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tulletha December 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

namaste sagar jii,
wow shookriya for your reply and words of adivice, we both dont want to marry funnily enough, but would only be doing it for the family, we have disscussed the matter, and if we did we would both be happy with something low cost/ court marriage, money is a stress for him and myself also, and there are many goals we both want to achieve together and individually in the next two years, the family will be the biggest hurdle, as he is adventurous and wants to live his life , pursue his goals, but at the same time take is duties as a son and help financially provide for his family, and be there when they need him. i would love for him to work in my country and earn good money to send home to sort these issues, he wants to too. the challange is the family , i hope they say yes to the idea, and not think i am stealing him away! (white women cant be trusted here aparently!)
anyways the universe unfolds as it should , for the best i hope!

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Chanakya December 22, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Sagar ,

“One thing I would strongly advice (even if you had been Indian):
After marriage, please live in a separate house/apartment with your husband- please do not live with his parents.”

I didn’t agree with this ‘advice’.I think its ‘mis-information’ for country where family ties are very strong and that , I am proud of the Fact , most guys take good care of their parents in old age.

To ask someone to live in a separate house is not only ‘separatism’ but also ‘Selfishness’.And what about the economic feasibility.You many come from a rich family but to afford even a single home is very difficult for an Indian household.

Live separately must be the LAST option and not first.The Americans culture doesn’t work here and I don’t want it to spread here.I particularly don’t like such advice.That issue is well handled in the movie ‘Bhagwan’ where newly weds and so-called ‘Modern’ couple abandon their parents who sacrificed their everything so that their children could study and get their degrees and job.

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Sharell December 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Chanakya, as much as you don’t like it, it’s sound advice particularly for a foreigner. It is very difficult to adapt to India, let alone living in a joint family as well. I’ve heard of so many problems.

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Chanakya December 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Sharell ,

My disliking to this advice was for “Indian-couples” as Sagar has specifically pointed that he would given the same advice to her even if she was an Indian.

I know for some foreign girls , it may be difficult to adjust.But I am sure if foreign girl can adjust with Indian men they can very well adjust with Indian MIL and FIL also.I have seen them actually do it.
Anyway ,most of the time people in multicultural relationship are already living separately and far from their parents so its mostly a non-issue.Also most of the multicultural relations are found in upper-middle class and upper-class society and , I am generalizing it , its more easy and flexible for Goris.

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ocean December 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Merry Christmas to ALL !!!

Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
French: Joyeux Noel
Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
German: Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!

Above(and many more) are from:
http://www.santas.net/howmerrychristmasissaid.htm

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Chanakya December 22, 2011 at 12:41 am

Is there anyway to call Merry Christmas in Hindi ?

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sagar (ocean) December 22, 2011 at 7:38 am

Shubh Krismas
Krismas Ki Subhkamanaa

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Ashli December 22, 2011 at 1:39 am

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Sharell- I’m glad you have been able to feel like its Christmas.
I spent one Christmas in Vizag a few years ago and couldn’t for the life of me get into the Christmas spirit. The weather while cold to those around is was the equivalent of my summer. Christmas trees were all wrong for me and even though we all went to church, the absence of my family and endless expanses of evergreens and warm crackling fires all snuggled in blankets was just not Christmassy enough.

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Sharell December 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

I’m lucky that because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, it’s summer time during Christmas. The warm weather is normal for me. :-) That said, it really doesn’t feel like Christmas is coming. I felt the excitement during the carols but now it’s back to normal. I guess it’s because, like you, I usually associate Christmas with certain memories/activities at my parent’s house. Last Christmas, with my hubby there for the first time, it felt like I was a child again because we made a big effort to celebrate it like we used to for him (including getting a real Christmas tree).

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Ashli December 25, 2011 at 3:28 am

That’s sweet I hope he enjoyed that. My husband had always celebrated Christmas in his home growing up but as for me in India it was just sort of different and not the same for him here. I am sure we will come to a happy medium someday as far as traditions are concerned. And when we move to India I am definitely bringing a huge noble fir or grand pine fake tree with me to help bridge the gap.

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Maddie December 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Hi Sharell,

Here after a long time. Congratulations on your book. Will get my hands on it once am back in Mumbai.

Have a merry Christmas and am sure you have lots to celebrate!! Am enjoying my Christmas in Edinburgh and really looking forward to this weekend. :)

Maddie

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Sharell December 24, 2011 at 10:57 am

Hey Maddie, great to have you back! Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the festive season over there. Have a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year. Hope 2012 brings you lots of good things! :-)

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