Christmas is not all about presents, dinners and warm bonfires or Santa Claus. While it is indeed a festival replete with all these elements, the true meaning of Christmas is embedded in the love and compassion of the human heart.
The real motive behind celebrating Christmas is to remember and commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Moreover, it is not just the Christians but people from all walks of life and religion who celebrate Christmas with enthusiasm and greater spirit every year.
We can do a few things that shall invariably translate to a more meaningful and merrier Christmas. At the outset it is not necessary to spend a large sum of money in the name of Christmas Eve celebrations for it is the little things that actually count. Gathering with family and close friends around a warmly lit bonfire is a cheerful and affordable option compared to elaborate expensive dinners or dos in luxury hotels and restaurants, particularly in these pandemic times when our purse is stretched more than usual.
Gathering with family and close friends around a warmly lit bonfire is a cheerful and affordable option compared to elaborate expensive dinners or dos in luxury hotels and restaurantsVolunteering for social causes is a great way to usher Christmas as the spirit of Christmas is all about giving.
"When I was a child I used to look forward to Father Christmas's arrival on 24th night and be delighted to see the gifts under the Christmas tree the next morning," says Meghna Sharma a young woman from Guwahati. "Later as I grew up I realized that the gifts were from my parents and relatives. However, I also realized that Christmas is all about giving and igniting hope for the ones who are sad and disillusioned. So on Christmas Eve, for many years now, I have started playing Santa Claus myself. There was a time when I distributed old but sturdy woolen blankets and sweaters to street children (while they were asleep on a cold pavement at night) on Christmas Eve. One Christmas I had visited a dog shelter and adopted a blind abandoned dog," she shares.
It is heartening to know that good Samaritans like Meghna exist. However, it is not just enough to get inspired by their deeds. It is indeed upto each of us to imbibe this spirit of selfless giving and actually give to commemorate the true meaning of Christmas. "Giving need not be expensive. It also need not be in a material or tangible form. For instance spending Christmas Eve with a lonely senior citizen can also be very rewarding for the soul and heart," says Riddhima Banerjee a counselor.
This year the pandemic has ravaged the world and taught us how very transient material possessions and even life are. So should we not invest more in giving rather than amassing this Christmas? "Also many people are contending with shoe string incomes or even no incomes this year as a direct outcome of the pandemic. Planning a festival invariably has a monetary element attached to it. This does generates stress at some level and it is no surprise that this year the stress levels are bound to escalate especially for the middle class and marginally low income families. One good and sensible way to mitigate this stress is to plan a Christmas that is focused on the intangible things like love, peace, understanding/ forgiveness and spending quality time with loved ones. Infact these should be our real Christmas goals," explains Banerjee. "Gifting and giving meaningfully and thoughtfully to the ones around us who really need it is a priceless experience that we can each gift ourselves with," she concludes.