Our First Married Christmas!

Our First Married Christmas!

Our Christmas this year was, by far, better than last year’s Christmas. Last year, DN and I spend Christmas with his best friend, touring a mall with a giant Christmas tree and eating Chinese food. When we got home, we made macaroni and cheese and Netflix wouldn’t load – so no Christmas movies. This year we made two very wonderful children happy, at the very least.

The days leading up to Christmas were spent (by me) eating, and battling the internet so I could finish my day’s work… Which ended up taking all day and night to finish. My husband spent his days eating and watching TV with the family.

We set up the tree as soon as possible. Manu, my niece, helped us decorate it. I was surprised at how much joy it brought, watching her decorate the tree with such sparkling eyes filled with wonder. I know she must have seen a Christmas tree before, but this was possibly her first time ever being allowed to touch one, let alone decorate it.

After Manu, followed baby Krishna, fascinated, and ready to touch and pull at the tree. Just over one year old, Krishna walks and climbs like the rest of us. He also has a pretty impressive vocabulary already, and can understand more Hindi than me. When the baby saw the tree, he naturally wanted to remove and play with all the ornaments, but (and I learned this later) if you tell him “Nahi” (no) he stops what he is doing and finds something else to do!

On Christmas Eve, I was determined to have some familiar food. The thing is… Guests kept coming over, all day! While not a bad thing, it robbed me of the feeling of Christmas, repeating Hindu greeting and entertaining rituals all day. When I cooked pasta at the end of the night, I made a lot. Everyone, including guests, had a sample of it. At the end of the night, I only had a small portion of the food I made to comfort myself, and there were still a few people who didn’t get to try any. Resultantly, my mother-in-law was not impressed. That night, I discussed in detail, while wrapping gifts, what should go on, during Christmas. My husband was as eager and excited as I was.

When Christmas morning came, hubby was sluggish and grumpy, having lost all will to operate Christmas the way I had envisioned.

“We’ll do that later.”

“I’ll do that later.”

“I’ll give this gift to that person, and buy them a gift later.”

“Let’s wait for that.”

I suddenly had a feeling, just after waking up, that all of this was really stupid. I questioned why I even thought it would be a good idea to celebrate with people who had no idea how to celebrate. My husband sympathized, and told me he would do his best to make Christmas feel real to me. I gave him credit for the thought.

We left the door open, as the tree was in our room (against my plan). While my husband went and enjoyed chai, I waited in the room for the kids to walk by and see the presents. After about half an hour, Manu walked in with her mouth open, smiling. She glided towards the tree carefully inspecting all the gifts. She began laughing and jumping around. At this time, my husband walked in and took part in the joy. The baby followed him in.

When the baby saw the tree he smiled so much, ran up to it, grabbed a bar of chocolate and ran out of the room. Of all the things, he was most pleased about the chocolate. Against my original plan, my husband asked Manu to wait to open presents until the evening, when (at least) her father would be home from work. It made sense to me, so I brushed off this aspect of my original plan.

My husband, after this, spent most of his day watching TV, while I entertained children, among other things. He was so busy in TV-land that he forgot to put my Christmas music on my phone so I could listen to it, and he never found the time.

In the night time, I spent most of my time in the kitchen, helping my mother-in-law with her endless project of frying snacks and food. My contribution, with my husband’s assistance, was apple empanadas. Which I found was easier just to call “Apple Gujia”. By special request, we made them with only a small amount of sugar, and they just weren’t the same. When Manu did open her gifts, she was happy about them, but the Christmas spirit had already left.

We passed out the rest of the gifts, sending them home with our guests.

I’m so happy I could spend Christmas with my husband’s family this year, and Christmas was an improvement compared to last year. I think it will be a work in progress, and each year will be better. I was sad that I missed out on key aspects of Christmas, but happy that I got to share a few moments of that with my niece and nephew.

Here’s to next year! ~

Christmas in India

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6 thoughts on “Our First Married Christmas!

  1. It will take time for Christmas to start feeling like Christmas. Over the years I found that it has mostly to do with being stuck between old traditions and the social expectations of your homeland and the fact they can’t work in India for many reasons.

    For me it was that I grew up with the idea that Christmas Eve dinner (we celebrate on the 24th more than on the 25th in Switzerland) was a BIG DEAL, as in super fancy, super elaborate and full of very special food stuff you don’t get to eat the rest of the year. My parents would make a big production of it taking out the fancy china and silverware and dress the formal dinning table in the living room (the rest of the year we eat in the kitchen). This scenario would not only play once but 3 times as we repeated it at my Paternal Grand ma’s place and my maternal grand ma’s place (3 days of Christmas all in all)

    So quite obviously, with no extended family nearby, and in the early days not even a dinning table Christmas felt dull. But even after I started getting into the idea of having a tree, and had a table and chairs and made points to throw a party for our friends, it wasn’t feeling the same. Not until I started having a circle of expat friends. Simply because Christmas is heavily steeped in culture, and you can’t recreate it when nobody around you gets it the way you get it.

    This year we had a very simple, just us and no fancy food Christmas, and it was my best ever (after 12 years in India). But only because the month that led to it was full of gathering with my friends. I had my fill of social interaction, craft session, pot luck parties and talking with people that could relate to Christmas on the same level as me.

    I know that Indians abroad feel the same way about Diwali too

    Like

  2. I don’t know what happened to my comment posted with the WP ID, it didn’t get published it seems so I am going to copy and paste it here :

    It will take time for Christmas to start feeling like Christmas. Over the years I found that it has mostly to do with being stuck between old traditions and the social expectations of your homeland and the fact they can’t work in India for many reasons.

    For me it was that I grew up with the idea that Christmas Eve dinner (we celebrate on the 24th more than on the 25th in Switzerland) was a BIG DEAL, as in super fancy, super elaborate and full of very special food stuff you don’t get to eat the rest of the year. My parents would make a big production of it taking out the fancy china and silverware and dress the formal dinning table in the living room (the rest of the year we eat in the kitchen). This scenario would not only play once but 3 times as we repeated it at my Paternal Grand ma’s place and my maternal grand ma’s place (3 days of Christmas all in all)

    So quite obviously, with no extended family nearby, and in the early days not even a dinning table Christmas felt dull. But even after I started getting into the idea of having a tree, and had a table and chairs and made points to throw a party for our friends, it wasn’t feeling the same. Not until I started having a circle of expat friends. Simply because Christmas is heavily steeped in culture, and you can’t recreate it when nobody around you gets it the way you get it.

    This year we had a very simple, just us and no fancy food Christmas, and it was my best ever (after 12 years in India). But only because the month that led to it was full of gathering with my friends. I had my fill of social interaction, craft session, pot luck parties and talking with people that could relate to Christmas on the same level as me.

    I know that Indians abroad feel the same way about Diwali too

    Like

  3. Congrats on your first Christmas…
    Don’t worry it will get much better next year…there are endless occasions to celebrate like Christmas…
    And yeah Don’t forget the BEST is yet to come…
    So don’t worry stay happy 🙂

    Like

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