Christmas is almost upon us. My first memories of Christmas take me back to my childhood. Having studied in convents and a Jewish school, Christmas carols and the Lord’s Prayer was a part of our school days. In those days, schools were stricter. We did not have fancy Christmas parties or decorated trees in school. But, the singing of Christmas carols would begin in right earnest at least a month in advance. I still remember “Silent Night, Holy Night” and “O Come all Ye Faithful” among others. Years later, I taught for a year in a Catholic school. And Christmas was celebrated in a grand manner in the school with models, storytelling and of course, hymns.
But the most memorable Christmas I’ve spent was in Scotland in the year 2005. We were there in December, and that is for the first time, I saw real festivity. The entire plaza was lit up. There were Christmas trees and fairs at every corner in Glasgow where we lived. Sid would stand and insist on doing those carnival rides over and over again. There was good-natured cheer in the air. The Scots have the tradition of giving money to little kids for “sweeties” that they call candy. So, Sid collected quite some coins. Even our apartment housekeeper bought him a car as a Christmas present because he was crazy fond of them. With all that pooled money, we bought him a large toy truck as a present too.
It was a joy to be out on those streets, soaking in the atmosphere and the camaraderie that infused the air. Yes, we were fortunate to witness a White Christmas too. It snowed on Christmas eve, and my toddler son was so excited. He insisted on being taken out to feel the snow flakes. That year, I truly enjoyed Christmas and for the first time understood the beauty and significance. Wishing all my friends a Merry Christmas and fantastic holidays!
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