The smell of fresh-baked goods filling the house. The tree glistens with perfectly hung lights and a fire crackling as the kids play with new toys. These are all synonymous with Christmas and the holiday period that comes along with it. For some, it’s spending time with friends and family whereas for others, it’s about getting a break from the busy work life.
Christmas is celebrated in most countries to commemorate the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. It acts as a catalyst to a happy and wonderful life. People in various places celebrate Christmas in different ways, but there are certain customs and traditions which are common across the globe, which may include exchanging gifts and sweets and decorating houses with colourful lights. Not only this, people go over and beyond themselves and their families and help the unprivileged and poor. Many individuals, schools and non-profits organise a collection of ‘gifts of affection’ which are then distributed to disadvantaged or disabled children.
People who live in the cold winter climates of North America and Europe look forward to a “white Christmas,” because snow is one of the features associated with the holiday season. But Christmas is also celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere, including in the countries of South America and in Australia and New Zealand—places where it is summer at Christmastime and in places with year-round warm climates. Each place where the holiday is celebrated has developed its own attitudes toward the occasion and has created customs that try in many ways to express the meaning of the day. Over the centuries, a significant number of customs and traditional observances have emerged to make the Christmas season one of the most colourful and festive times of the year. For many Christians, it remains a religious holiday and is celebrated with a mass.
Melbourne, Australia, in particular, is all lit up during Christmas. Every year the Federation square across the famous Flinders Street station turns into a shiny Christmas square. It offers an amazing array of free sights, sounds and experiences. The centrepiece is the glorious tall LED Christmas tree featuring hundreds of individually programmed LED branches topped by a twinkling star. Another attraction of the square is the giant Christmas Bauble, a white wonder glittering by the day and twinkling by the night. Some other luring scenes at the square are the Gingerbread village, it’s projections and Santa’s house.
For me, Christmas is a time to slow down and spend time with friends and family. Every year one of our family friends organises a Christmas barbeque near their home in Melbourne. The smell of fresh food, children giggling, laughing and running around in the park, and after that, all of us sitting and chatting along while opening our Christmas presents is what makes Christmas complete for me.
In the end, I would say take time this holiday season to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by glorifying the One who gave it all. Understand the sacrifices made by Jesus for the benefit of us all and remember his teachings in the form of spreading love, happiness and cheer amongst all.
By Archita Baweja