The Grinch who stole Christmas!

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How I became the “Grinch who stole Christmas” !

When I was growing up we didn’t celebrate Christmas so to say … As in we had no Christmas tree & stockings & no Santa came to give us gifts on Christmas Eve.

We were Gujarati’s & we celebrated Diwali & Bestu Varas (the day after Diwali is considered a new year), Holi & Sankranti(Kite festival). But my parents were “cosmopolitan” & modern so we did go to the Christmas parties at various Gymkhanas etc where emaciated Santa’s sat listlessly. Also my mother’s colleague Robert uncle used to invite us for the Christmas party at his house & that was my first taste of a yummy authentic Christmas feast.(Note to self : Tell Mom to make Robert uncle & Brice Aunty call us again for Christmas lunch)
Apart from the fact that we had Christmas holidays there was no payback thanks to this festival… Unlike Diwali where we got new clothes & money in an envelope.

While growing up one read all the books which described the festival of Christmas so beautifully… The tree, the stockings, the carols, mulled wine & pudding, leaving milk & cookies for Santa who came down the chimney with gifts … And oh yes the snow falling gently while all this was happening. At that time I so wanted to be a part of this festival which by virtue of being “foreign” seemed more alluring than my Diwali 🙂

So I grew up & decided to make all this happen for my little girl 🙂
Kiara was born & we celebrated each festival with great fervour. So obviously when her first Christmas came around, I decided to go all out & give her the Christmas I’d always read about. My mother in law (MIL) went & got home a small real Christmas tree which we decorated & put cotton on it to depict snow. Then a small gift was put under it for my little girl & she was dressed in a red & so was I with Santa caps to boot & off we went to the JWMarriott hotel for the fancy Christmas party ( an upgrade from the parties of my childhood ! ).
The halls were decked with Holly & all was Tra la la la la ! Santa came in a sleigh with a Ho ho ho & the kids had a Merry Christmas 🙂

And thus began the tradition of celebrating Christmas in our household. Over the years it kept getting bigger & better !
When she was 5 we experienced what a real Christmas felt like in the USA thanks to our family there 🙂 On Christmas Eve she was made to leave out milk & cookies for Santa near the fire place & he ate it all up & left her a letter ! When she woke up in the morning she was most delighted to find lots of gifts for herself under the tree & a stocking as big as herself stuffed with gifts & candy & what not ! They spoiled her rotten & I have to admit I was as delighted to come down in the morning & sit by the tree drinking hot tea & exchanging our gifts … It has been the best Christmas so far 🙂

And so our Christmas celebrations kept getting more elaborate… Bigger tree which was decorated while we listened to Christmas carols & songs, personalised stockings were put up for every one, poinsettias were put all around, letters were written to Santa, milk & cookies were put out for him in the balcony with our tree. And we also started the tradition of exchanging gifts in the morning. Also a Christmas party at home for all of Kiara’s friends became mandatory !

This year she turned 12 in June. And as she has grown older she has told me about how she knows I’m Santa though I try really hard to to write a note for with my left hand 🙂

This December we started some renovation work in the house & it was a mess so I didn’t put up the tree or have a party for Kiara. I thought to myself she’s a big girl now & anyway she knows there’s no Santa.
But I was sooo wrong 🙁
She had made a list of what she wants for Christmas… Out of which I had ordered stuff online from Justice, her favourite clothes store currently. But since they don’t deliver to India that would reach us only when someone comes with it from abroad next month.
She went to stay at her cousins house on Christmas Eve & since they had a tree there I decided to be “practical” & leave money in an envelope with a letter from Santa … I thought to myself I’ll tell her she can shop for all the little things on her list with that money.
Christmas morning I got a message from her telling me how I was the worst parent in the world ! And who gets money for Christmas???
I tried to reason with her about how she only told me that she knows there’s no Santa & I didn’t bother with gifts since we hadn’t put up our tree or stockings. And she knew that her stuff had been ordered already.
But she wasn’t to be placated & I was given the epithet of “meanest mother” ! That hurt & then when I analysed it, I realised that all my little girl wanted was the Magic of Christmas. The Magic that I taught her about … The Magic that I also believe in … I felt bad that I didn’t make the Magic happen this year …

And I became the Grinch who stole Christmas !!!

PS: We have now made up but I’m not “forgiven” & I have promised to make amends by taking her to Santa’s village in Lapland next Christmas 🙂

13 comments

  1. Hey Manasi,
    Super piece and so relatable:)
    Prarthna may also know there’s no Santa who fills her stockings every year but there’s an unspoken thing between us.. I fill her stockings every year including 2014 and she likes to believe it’s Santa:)
    N I truly hope this tradition continues!!
    Keep writing more often M.. Always lovely to read ur blogs

  2. Can connect to this so well, this happened with us last year and I gave up. But your positive end has motivated me to try and bring back some Christmas magic for Anu next year. Thanks Manasi! Love ya!

  3. Super.. You are an awesome mom, and I hope someday I can be like you with my kids, their friend, agony aunt, Understanding super cool
    Mama, and Gift giving Santa, all wrapped in one. Love you.

  4. Parents and especially mothers are our real Santa. Who fulfill our wishes..spoken unspoken..Not only on Christmas but all throughout…lovely & touching article Mansi.

  5. Beautifully written blog.. Can identify with every word.. Insha m sure knows that I m Santa. But will never say it and the list for Santa are still made.

    Keep writing Manasi..

  6. Superb !!! Kiara is a little princess who knows every thing but still wants to be surprised … Who don’t want surprises . You are the best mother , friend n guardian yo her …next year take me also to Santa village

  7. I so related with your beautiful post. I have a chapter on The magic of Santa and Tooth Fairies in my book and this resonated with the content of that chapter. Yes, indeed it is not merely important but incumbent to allow our children to believe in miracles and magic (even just a bit) as they grow older. Because magic also means hope and a belief in something beyond the realm of the visible, the sentient and the limited. And one sure does need a lot of hope and belief to get by in life.
    Having said that, I nearly did something similar with Zara myself but thought better of it because I felt it might not have gone down too well with her. But “mean mom” is my middle name. I wear it like a badge of honor now.

  8. good read as always… It has motivated me to celebrate Christmas in ful swing from now. same as u I have been bought with gujarati tradition always celebrating Diwali, holi, uttarayan, parsyushan, navratri and all the other festivals except Christmas .. though Christmas and me goes long back as have studied in convent school so kind of knew all the happenings during Christmas through school, but like most others I took it so easily to follow what I we did for my lil girl as well which is wrong.. I never took extra effort though living in England recently to accept this new tradition, which after reading your blog has made me think its a big mistake. I m going to celebrate Christmas everyyear in the best possible way.

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