Mangaluru: Gearing Up for Christmas-the Happiest Time of the Year with Merriment in the Air

Mangaluru: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas; Soon the bells will start, And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing, Right within your heart”-Yes, Christmas is just a few hours away! And I am really excited about it! This ought to mean that by the time it really comes, we should all be so fed up, all we want to do is sleep! And yet, I believe there is something inside each and every one of us, no matter how old we are, whether we have young children in our families or not, that goes ‘ahhhhh’ when we think of Christmas. Even if you don’t help out at your Church in the Christmas preparations, there are still plenty of things to do.

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When we get closer to the end of December, there’s no question your Christmas spirit may already be worn a little thin. Besides the organizing and shopping and running around in time for December 25, it’s also the end of a heck of a long year and you’re undoubtedly in need of a respite.Yes, its already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Mangaluru, with Christians getting all geared for the big Christmas celebrations, with shops stocked up with Christmas decorations, twinkling Christmas stars, artificial Christmas trees; and bakeries are getting ready with their kuswars and cakes.

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Bakers at Vas Bakery- Bendoor are working round the clock preparing and giving final touches to the variety of Christmas cakes, numbered in hundreds-Owner Bryan says that business has been brisk this year, with most of the Christmas goodies mostly sold. Jewellery shops and up-class hotels have already erected their Christmas trees and decorated their premises. Churches are getting ready for the Christmas programme/mass and the choir groups are practicing thorough on the Christmas carols. Mangaloreans living abroad have already started coming down for the holidays. There had been various Christmas Souharda ( Community Unity) programmes- Karnataka Missions Network had organized “Festival of Great Joy and Peace” with a evangelist/guest speaker Dr R Rajkumar from New Delhi; there are still many Christmas music and drama shows lined up during the next few days.

I remember during my younger days going to the neighbouring hills and bringing home cut branches of pine tree to be set up as a Christmas tree and then decorate it with ornaments and lights ( with some string-light bulbs getting burned out within few minutes ?) – but these days you don’t have to take all that trouble, because you get China-made Christmas trees that all come decorated and lighted up too. We used to make traditional Christmas cribs with flowing water, fields ( made out of bean sprouts), green lawn etc ( just to find every morning that the crib fields being dug up by cats and rats- really pisses you off) -but that’s what you call traditional Christmas. But what happened to all the traditional style of Christmas, seems like Christmas is getting too commercialized and too modern these days. Now you get ready-made cribs, also artificial lawn-Oh well !

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Let’s get in the mood for Christmas. Lets get in the groove of Christmas – I cant wait its almost Christmas (A time so dear) So much fun to wake up on Christmas, and spread the love and cheer. Let’s all gather round, Christmas is getting near, and its that time when love is in the air. We all had to wait through the year for this time to be here, because its that time when everyone cares. Positive energy as we laugh cheerfully having fun with family and friends (come on lets get in to it) Hang lights on the Christmas tree, hang a Santa Clause, decorate your place, and let the Christmas spirit begin.

There are chores to be done, send greeting through emails/SMSs to our families and close friends (hardly anyone sends Christmas cards these days), home-made kuswar to be made or cakes to be baked. Gift ideas to think of, shoe-boxes to fill, decoration themes to be dreamt up! Decisions to be made, do we have a real tree this year or the old tinsel one in the loft? Do we book tickets to a new movie release or just drive down to the Panambur or Ullal beach? Where to celebrate the Christmas Eve-whether to go a restaurant or friends house or simply celebrate with family at home. Lots to think of and do…..for all of us, just for one day, for 24 hrs, that will be done and dusted, and over before we know it, and the memory of it will be the unattractive Christmas Jumper, the pine needles that you’ll still be hoovering up or sweeping in February 2016 and the novelty shampoo/soap basket that you got as Christmas gift that’s gathering dust on the bathroom shelf!

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Yes, Christmas is finally here-across the world and locally, the festive season signals parades, live music, carol concerts, festive menus in star-hotels and restaurants, buzzing nightlife and surprise visits by Santa Claus-whether you are happier clubbing, partying in the streets in an exhibition of joy, or prefer a chilled-out celebration, there are options galore…if you decide to dine out on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve/Day, Hotel Taj Gateway-Mangaluru , where they bring you the finest of the festive season, with wide spread of buffet and other goodies, along with professional and friendly service.

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hristmas can also be a time when we engage with the God that invented it…It can be a time when we get all tingly inside, and traditional, and want nothing more than carols and candles, decorated Christmas trees and kuswar/cakes, and Mary and Joseph and Jesus and a manger. Yes, now the time is getting near…its less than 12 plus hours, until Christmas….Not long, to get prepared, get ready, get excited, and get remembering WHO it is all really about. Merry Christmas to everyone of you well in advance. Ho..ho..ho..ho.. It’s time for me to go for some last minute Christmas bargain shopping…..Have a Merry Merry Christmas!

I end this column with lyrics from two Christmas carols-“Joy to the World”, and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”-

Joy to the World…

“Joy to the world! The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy”

We wish you a Merry Christmas…..

“We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year

Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year

Now bring us some figgy pudding
Now bring us some figgy pudding
Now bring us some figgy pudding
And a cup of good cheer

We won’t go until we get some
We won’t go until we get some
We won’t go until we get some
So bring it right here”

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