Cupcakes might have become the "in" treat for every festival now, but we still like our Christmas cake! Plum cakes, fruit cakes, rum-soaked dry fruit cakes, we have it all. If you have grown up in Calcutta, the mince pies at Nahoums would have been consumed by the kilo. People in the capital ruffle each other up (in true Delhi style) while in queue to stock up on yum plum cakes from Wengers. If you are a Mumbaikar, we know that you are blessed with a host of old and wonderful bakeries - Silvana Cake Shop in Byculla, Merwan’s Bakery in Andheri, or the popular Theobroma at Bandra.
We have all grown up exchanging X-mas cards and gifts with our friends. Remember flocking to the nearest Archies showroom while growing up, before Christmas?
...Or even a Christmas lunch! While roast turkeys, geese, glazed hams, and puddings feature prominently on Christmas menus in the West, Indian Christmas menus are unique in their own way. Goans living out of Goa, we are sorry for doing this to you, but we have to mention the wonderful sweet treats you make for Christmas - Gons, Neureos, Bolinhos (cookies), Bhatt and Kormola. Apologies again, but you do make drool-worthy savouries too. If you have ever sat for a Goan Christmas meal, you must have been served Peas Pulao, roast/salted tongue, and Feijoda. To tickle taste buds further, let us take you down south to Kerala: cutlets with onion salads (Ulli Sarlas), Karimeen Varuthathu (Pearl Spot Fry), paired with some homemade wine - bliss, ain’t it?
If you find yourself sober on Christmas, it is probably time for some serious self-reflection. If you are done with your quota of eggnog and mulled wine, feel free to switch to whisky, rum, vodka, gin or whatever that is your poison. Because who can judge you today? Everyone around you is probably drunk too!
We can't help it if the Brits, the Dutch, the French and the Portuguese decided to make way to India. And, thanks to them, this country has some stunning churches and cathedrals. Every city in India has churches. And we bet most of you have attended midnight mass on Christmas Eve at least once. People living in the metros, you know about these already: St Pauls Cathedral, Kolkata, St John’s Church in New Delhi and the Mount Mary’s Basilica (you can also spot a lot of popular faces from tinsel town here) in Mumbai.
We're sure you know at least two carols. You have either performed them at school functions or heard them at choir performance. Or just grew up listening to them being played on record across the town. You, the Calcuttan, must have gone for special choir performance organized by The St Xavier’s Collegiate School, even if you never attended the institution. The Christmas Ball and Dance at the Catholic Gymkhana in Mumbai is quite a coveted event. Newly moved to Mumbai? Start working on procuring an invite!
For those who have never been to Goa during Christmas, make sure you do so at least once. The Christmas Carnival is one of the most colourful and vibrant events organized in the state. If you want to spend your Christmas in the languid backwaters of Kerala, you will be in for a treat too. Bandra is the best place in Mumbai to be during Christmas, with Hill Road lined with little stalls selling decorations and X-mas specials like homemade marzipan, kal kals, milk cream sweets and plum cake available at several shops. The traffic is a total nightmare, but no one bothers to get into a fight because everyone's in the holiday spirit!
Parts of certain cities in India get a complete Christmas makeover every year-end! For those of you who have grown up in Mumbai, the huge Santa with his sledge at Marine Plaza on the Queens Necklace will always be the Christmas visual for you. And the thought of pretty Park Street and Bow Barracks decked in fairylights in Kolkata makes at least two of us on the POPxo team sigh!
Image: Wikimedia Commons
We may not have had real Christmas trees while growing up, but a tree (usually a plastic one, and only 5 inches tall) was a must. So was a funny-looking Santa figurine!
We aren’t entirely sure why we would always write X-Mas instead of Christmas. But we guess that’s the way we roll - rather, ring. :)