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! ~