Say ‘Merry Christmas’ and see the spreading smile on the faces of those around, who are familiar with the annual celebration and the stories associated with it.
The famous story of Santa Claus in his Red costume and red tasseled cape, his arrival on Christmas Eve on his sled pulled by the ‘moving tree’ (his reindeer) while all are sleeping, and the leaving behind of his gifts for children in the big sock or sack hung over their beds . The wishes made by children especially for what they desired most, leaving messages for Santa to grant their wishes for the next Christmas, the sweet harmonious melodies of the Christmas carols, the lit up Christmas tree of mistletoe with gifts pinned to it for everybody and of course the sumptuous Christmas dinner taken together, are all part of a great celebration that has till this day continued a wonderful tradition.
Celebrated mainly by those of the Christian faith all over the world, in happier times literally everybody used to participate at least in the wishing and most of the festivities.
Christmas is celebrated on December 25th every year all over the world, a festival marking the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas for many is about gathering with friends and family to enjoy each others’ company and have a nice time. A national holiday in many countries of the world, it is convenient for people to congregate and reconnect for both the traditional religious celebrations and the informal festivities.
It is also about giving and receiving, when gifts are exchanged between family members, friends and sometimes given to charities, orphanages, for the joy of giving to those much less privileged in comparison.
A very good period especially for followers of the Christian faith all over the word, weddings also are planned around this time and naturally there would be many who could also be celebrating their anniversaries too round this time and would be showered with love and wedding gifts. Appreciation through wonderful anniversary mementos and appropriate presents serve as priceless heirlooms.
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Hear this brief narration about a girl called Twila and her brother Douglas in Mumbai, India, whose love for a Christmas tree since their childhood days and their joy in nurturing and seeing it grow taller every year, has created a tradition of sorts.
Twila at 14 and Douglas at 12, lived in Adarsh Nagar, a small private society in Worli, Mumbai. They fell in love with a five feet tall pine conifer growing in their neighbour’s verandah and once the neighbor seemed to think it unmanageable, they got to buy it at a sum of Rs.250 from him and since then has been an addition to the Saldhana family from Mangalore – Father Henry, Mother Grace, Daughter Twila, and Son Douglas. That was 40 years ago.
Regular watering and tender care lavished on this tree saw it growing taller nicely year after year, as if the youngest member in the family and decorated beautifully every year for Christmas. Over the years it also gained a reputation for its good growth not only in the neighbourood but in Mumbai as well.
Twila, a nurse, had married an NRI and shifted to the States. All was fine until, in 2005 she succumbed to cancer despite the best efforts of the family. But the love for the tree of brother and sister, the care they had fostered over it, endured and bore fruit.
Today at close to 60 feet height it has claimed a place in the Limca Book of Records for being the tallest Christmas Tree in Mumabi and India. People from all walks of life come every Christmas just to have a glimpse of this marvel. Coming in as perfect strangers they return as familiar friends of the family is what Douglas says, a confirmed bachelor despite excellent matches coming his way, just for the love of his parents and to take personal care of them and the ‘Christmas Tree’.
Create your own traditions or celebrate with the traditions that have been passed down in your family. Take time off to meet somebody who has been out of touch for quite some time and re-kindle those pleasant memories. Initiate the healthy practice of giving presents to friends on such joyous occasions, for it is the giving that matters not how much the gift costs. Spend Christmas if you are a free bird with those desolate souls who yearn for a warm smile or a comforting word.
With the excellent tidings of Christmas and the warmth and happiness that comes with it, surely traditions like these make the world a better place to live in.