Christmas around the world celebrates the same joyous spirit, yet each place has its own, unique flavour. Find out more about Christmas around the world!
This cold season infuses such warmth in everyone that some wish that it was Christmas every day of the year and that is just what La Boutique de Noel has helped make a reality. It is a tiny store in the heart of old Quebec in Canada that keeps the merriment of Christmas alive throughout the year.
Discovering the store in Quebec City is such a joy as it lets every single person who has ever yearned to see Santa’s wonderland as a child to return to that age of innocence and wonderment. You can admire the Nutcracker or gaze at the intricately decorated Christmas tree with glee and the child in you will never want to leave.
This store keeps Christmas alive in Quebec all throughout the year and spreads it to every part of Quebec City in December. A stroll on the cobbled streets of Old Quebec can make Christmas special for any romantic out there.
New York has been on the list of places to visit during Christmas of everyone who has ever watched a Hollywood romcom during Christmas time. The brightly lit streets and classic decorations that are put up every year without fail as the city gears up for the holidays are each time better than the previous year’s.
New Yorkers wait for Macy’s and Bloomingdales to put up their decorations in the window displays as it is an iconic part of the Christmas tradition for the city. The giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is a symbol of Christmas in New York, as thousands of people flock to the Big Apple to see the decorations every year.
Folks who like some theatre in their lives make a beeline for the Radio City Hall for a performance by the Rockettes come December. The Rockettes train for most of the year to put up ‘A Christmas Spectacular’ which is a treat for the eyes. They put up a meticulously choreographed show with such ease every day until Christmas.
The streets of New York seem to get quieter and quieter as Christmas approaches, and that is part of the charm of Christmas in there. A romantic ride in a horse carriage in Central Park, or a more adventurous attempt of ice skating at Byron Park during Christmas time adds an extra pinch of magic.
Singapore dresses itself in colours of red, green and white every Christmas, as trees are decorated in every nook and cranny of the city. Downtown Singapore dons a more festive look as it readies itself for two months of celebration.
Christmas in Singapore is soon followed by the Chinese New Year. The decorations in every street corner miraculously change to pink blossoms and the given animal of the New Year. The fountains at Marina Bay dance to a merrier tune and the Gardens by the Bay somehow manage to look prettier than they are every day of the year. The spirit of Christmas manages to snuggle into the hearts and lives of people, as the world becomes just a tiny bit better at this time of the year.
People who want to shed their winter clothes can head to New Zealand where December is warm and sunny. Christmas in New Zealand is celebrated with outdoor barbecues and merriment. The vistas of New Zealand are breathtaking in any season but the magic of Christmas lets you be one with the outdoors and explore. You can take a cruise and see sperm whales, dolphins and seals, as this country has one of the most rich flora and fauna.
Puerto Rico has one of the longest celebrations of Christmas as the festivities go on until mid-January. Latin dance and music is part of Puerto Rico’s soul and it takes on a merry tune for Christmas. Feasts are bountifully prepared with roast pig, mufango and a free flow of sangria. The tropical forests and mountains of El Yunque on this beautiful island are a change from the snow-capped mountain views that are closely associated with Christmas.
Switzerland is one of the few places on earth that becomes prettier with every season. The cities of Zurich, Lucerne, and Interlaken have much to offer for every person who visits at this time of year. The snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps beckon at a distance as the twinkling lights of the cities dance. A hot cup of Swiss chocolate, or Swiss coffee laced with rum can brighten up the spirits of any cold traveller. Sharing a pot of fondue and dipping your favourite meats into the silken cheese with some friends or even strangers who you met along the way, gives true meaning to the spirit of Christmas.
Bangalore dresses up for Christmas by taking down some of the Diwali decorations and adding wreaths, ribbons and brightly lit Christmas stars. The iconic landmarks of Brigade Road and M.G Road light up and add merriment to the spirit of giving. Bakeries add Christmas cakes, also called plum cakes, to their baking list. You can find that many people who want to become part of the merriment wear their Santa hats and give food and blankets to the poor and needy as this season brings out the best in everyone.
In Mumbai, even the tiniest street corner, especially in the many Christian quarters, displays a thoughtful nativity scene with baby Jesus in his manger. Churches hold mass as church bells toil in Christmas day. South Bombay dresses up the prettiest during Christmas. Colaba Causeway has a buzz as the market of knick-knacks spruces up and brightens for the holiday season. A cold beer or hot chocolate depending on one’s mood at Leopold Café or Café Mondegar while just being part of the festivity around is an experience worth having.
Around the world, people celebrate this season in their own special ways. Some travel and witness the beauty of Christmas in faraway places. Some turn homewards and spend Christmas with their loved ones. Some snuggle up with hot cocoa and watch a favourite Christmas classic on TV and some attend mass at Christmas as they light a candle for their prayer. But, no matter what, at the end of the day every Grinch has a smile on his or her face.
Malls are decked up as stores stock up on holiday sales as people go about their Christmas shopping. Even the tiniest of shops seems to smile as people buy gifts for their loved ones in keeping with the spirit of Christmas. Even airports and bus terminals seem charming with people bustling along as they travel to their desired destinations. People are generally more friendly and nicer at this time of the year and are happier to lend a helping hand.
What is it with Christmas, that lets a faint stream of joy into your heart that becomes bigger and bigger till it cannot be contained in just one heart but needs to spread to everyone around?
This article first appeared in the TOI.
Image source: Christmas themed picture by Shutterstock.
In-article pictures credit Anju Jayaram.