No Christmas would ever be complete without a Christmas tree as it
embodies the spirit of joy and celebration that the season brings. Prominent city residents describe what this tradition means to them, writes Swati Sharma
Sabina Xavier, entrepreneur
‘A collection of memories’
The kids call their close friends over and while cake and cookies are baking, they play Christmas carols, put on their Santa hats and begin decorating the Christmas tree. The fairy lights go on first, followed by the ornaments, which can range from shiny baubles and stars to even precious photographs. Over the years, we have collected so many little baubles from all over the world and so, the tree is always overflowing! Each bauble has a memory attached to it so the tree is actually a collection of memories of the years gone by.
Christmas trees are traditionally put up as the season of advent begins, which is normally the first Sunday of December. They are then removed after the Feast of the Three Kings, which is when the Magi visited the baby Jesus after he was born. Christmas trees have that very special ability to make one feel ‘Christmassy’. One look at it and my heart warms up with joy and a special festive feeling.
Bina Singh, social activist
‘Red and gold is a family favourite’
Lights and colours are the first things to go on our tree, with red and gold being a family favourite for years! Then comes the tinsel and garlands, we also spiral some ribbons to add body. Ornaments like bells, stars, reindeer, hand-made candy canes add to the festive feeling. At the end, we put the star on top of the tree to remind us of the shining star of Bethlehem that guided the three Magi to reach the stable when Jesus was born. The fir tree, which is commonly used, has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years. The pagans used its branches to decorate their homes during the winter solstice as it made them think of the upcoming spring season.
Samson Vijay Reddy, working professional
‘Sets the mood for Christmas’
For Christians, the Christmas tree is viewed as a symbol of Christ — being triangular in shape, it represents the Trinity — and from there comes the idea that the tree should be a symbol of Christ and new life.
Decorating Christmas trees is one of the best activities during the Christmas season. According to tradition, the trees are usually put up on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Once it is decorated and lit, it not only sets the mood for Christmas but also brings in joy and happiness in the hearts of the people. And don’t forget to hang your stockings next to the Christmas tree!
According to legend, Saint Nicholas wanted to help out three sisters who had lost their mother, so he threw a bag of gold coins down the chimney and it fell into the sisters' stockings. Since then, it has become a tradition to leave empty stockings for Santa Claus to fill with gifts.
Dr. Oli Tooher Hancock, Head of The International School of Hyderabad
‘Decorations from all over the world’
My Christmas tree is a collection of decorations from all over the world for the last 26 years. It started in Beijing in 1996 where we lived then. Since then, we have lived in Japan, Sri Lanka, Peru and now India, so there are lots of decorations from all these places. We usually put up our Christmas tree, which is from the UK, in mid November, and take it down on January 6 as it is the 12th day after Christmas.
Rebecca Gupta, trauma recovery coach & artist
‘Reminds us of our childhood’
Lights, baubles and ornaments, tinsel and the star at the top are the main elements that go on a Christmas tree. When they were first put up, people used candles, tinsel and whole nuts or candy for decoration, and the tree was only put up on Christmas Eve. Over the years however, the candles have been replaced with electric lights.
Christmas reminds us of our childhood and believing in the magic of the celebrations. I put up my tree on December 1 and only take it down in the 1st week of January. I have been collecting an ornament every year for each of my kids from when they were born so that when they grow up and start their own houses, I can send a whole box of their own ornaments with them.
My own tree is a mixture of ornaments I have collected over the years and handmade baubles that my kids have made. Putting up the tree while making hot chocolate and playing Christmas music is one of my favourite evenings of the holiday season....