My flatmates already hate me for this, but for me, Christmas begins in September. You heard that right. If you ever visit my humble abode, you will faintly be able to hear Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé’s chocolatey voice and iconic Christmas tunes from my incredibly thin bedroom walls, intermingling with the smell of even more chocolatey hot chocolate in our kitchen. For me, it truly is never too early for Christmas, and I will always be unapologetic for my excitement for the festive season.
Does a Hindu girl wanting to partake in every Christmas activity sound like fake fan behaviour? That’s for you to decipher. I don’t have any religious affiliation with Christmas whatsoever, but despite that, Christmas never ceases to make me happy. It’s my favourite and the most wonderful time of the year. When I was a young girl, living in a tiny area of New Delhi, India, I used to get sad watching western films and TV shows. They portrayed Christmas to be the most magical thing in the world – Santa being the one orchestrating the wonder. All I ever wanted was for Santa to visit our house and appreciate my dodgy plastic Christmas tree which had cotton balls stuck to it (so it looked like snow). All I witnessed on Christmas eve, though, was the tiptoes and quiet whispers of my parents silently sliding a Cadbury’s chocolate under my pillow. Seven year old Tanvi didn’t question their motives; to me, that bar of chocolate was a Christmas miracle.
The first time I ever fully embraced my love for Christmas was when I moved to the Philippines. In Manila, Christmas decorations are put up in malls at the start of the “ber” months – which start in September. The halls are decked with boughs of holly, and every Filipino encourages you to remember that ‘tis really the season to be jolly. I now take this tradition of celebrating the true spirit of Maligayang Pasko (Tagalog for Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays) way early – everywhere I go. My childhood self was very happy to have experienced Christmas the “proper” way in the Philippines, but it still did not feel complete as I was surrounded by palm trees and no snow.
Experiencing Christmas time in Edinburgh, though, was genuinely something else. It was snowing the first time I stepped foot in the Christmas market. I had my hot chocolate in hand, my Wham! Christmas shirt on, I was wrapped in layers from head to toe, and I was feeling the vibe. It felt like I was Lorelai Gilmore and the snow was falling just for me. That day, it felt like “Santa”, whoever that is, listened to seven year old Tanvi and made all her dreams come true.
Seeing the snow fall onto actual Christmas trees and being surrounded by loved ones made me realise the true meaning of Christmas, and why people are so eager to celebrate it and get into the spirit. There is more to Christmas than capitalism and Mariah Carey. It’s about oneness. People love to experience happiness, whether that’s by spending time with their family or friends or having an excuse to drink alcohol. For me, Christmas is about experiencing that feeling of childlike wonder once again, and making sure that seven year old Tanvi is content with her surroundings. That’s what I find most beautiful about Christmas and any kind of festival in general. The writers of the film Love Actually said it best – Christmas shows you that love really is all around.
So if you’re a Christmas enthusiast, don’t be afraid to show it! Bring out the hot chocolate, queue those vlogmas videos, and do a Home Alone marathon. You’re not alone!
Credit: Erwan Hesry via UnSplash