Santa would always come and leave great presents for Sammy without her having to ask. Over the last one year, she had been a very good girl indeed and this festive season, she decided to write to Santa for something specific she longed for.
She first wrote to him around a week before Christmas, just so that he'd have enough time to make that present as perfect for her as possible. As she lay on her bed, under the blanket with a torchlight next to the paper she wrote on, she signed -- “Love, Samantha (you can call me Sammy!).”
She neatly folded the letter, put it in an envelope and kept it on her bedside table next to a jar of cookies for Santa.
As she dozed off in excitement, her last speck of imagination was of her with the family in the living room doing what she loved doing the most decorating that Christmas tree. Yes, she was ever so excited for her long awaited Christmas, her favourite day of the year.
Stockings of various sizes hung by the fireplace waiting anxiously to be filled with treats; the whole house sparkling green, red and white and then there was the big Christmas tree that surely brings brightness into people's lives.
“Why wouldn't people love Christmas?” she often wondered. One of the most amazing parts of Christmas is decorating that gorgeous tree. With lights of different colours and various beautiful ornaments, everybody tries their best to make that tree look like Christmas itself.
As Sammy woke up on Christmas morning, she jumped out of bed to see through her window. She put a smile on her face and ran towards her Christmas tree.
Lying under the tree, there it was. Her present in a big box, wrapped in silver and violet, shiny wrapping paper, was just waiting to be opened by her excited little hands. As she walked towards it, her anticipation rose step by step.
As soon as she picked the beautiful life-size box, she knew…she knew she got just what she asked for. She looked up with a gorgeous smile and whispered, 'thank you, Santa!'.
By Naziba Basher
AS IT WAVES A MAGIC WAND OVER THE WORLD
Oishee Rimi Mondal, has given us her ideas on how Christmas is celebrated. Her family buys the tree from Gulshan. "The decorations are usually found in Gulshan-1 market or in front of Tejgaon church. We sometimes buy our decorations from there. But my parents usually get llights and décor from abroad when they go for vacations.' Rimi has told us how even though not everyone sets up their trees during Christmas, almost everyone has a bright star lit up on their roof on the eve of Christmas.
Some people choose to put a star on top of their Christmas tree and some choose the Angel. While many might not know the significance, Rimi has enlightened us with the reason behind it.
She told us about how on the night Jesus was born an Angel had come down to lead the three wise men to Him. The Angel had asked them to follow the big star that had appeared in the sky that very night. And with the direction they had gotten from the star, they visited Jesus in Mother Mary's arms. The Angel on the Christmas tree, thus, represents the Angel who had led the Three Wise Men to Jesus and the Star represents their guiding light.
Another widely practised tradition during Christmas is the making of the Nativity sets, known as 'Goshala' in Bangla. These nativity sets are models that recreate the night Jesus was born. They make the whole scene with statues of Mother Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, The three wise men, shepherds, angels, sheep and more in the stable where Jesus was born.
This miniature replica of the holy night brings back a certain faith in religion in people's hearts on Christmas Eve. Rimi mentioned how here in Bangladesh, a lot of families also have a rivalry on who creates the best Nativity set, adding a little more fun to their already lively Christmas spirit.
Christmas eve is what most children wait anxiously for. All the Christian families get ready to go to Church together for a special celebration, which carries on till midnight. There's a special mass, which is different from the regular ones they hold every Sunday. As the children sing the Christmas carols with their mothers and fathers, they look up to the glittering lights that brighten the Church ever so beautifully.
Rimi tells us how even here in Bangladesh her parents Sylvia and Gabriel take her from house to house, after church, to sing Christmas carols to different families. While many people who don't celebrate Christmas or are of a different religion may find it odd to be woken up in the middle of the night by strangers singing outside their doors, others who are wide awake, with their Christmas spirits lit alive, take the pleasure in not only listening but also singing along.
The next morning, Christmas day, most people choose to spend with their families. Waking up to the unique decorations of Christmas cards hung across the room on a bright ribbon puts you in the mood for celebrations right away. Up next is running to your Christmas tree and opening those presents that you've anxiously been waiting for.
Some also choose to spend the day with their best friends, exchanging presents they got for each other and going out for a nice brunch after a quick visit to the Church.
Another thing to look forward to on this joyous occasion, Rimi tells us, is that gorgeous Christmas cake just sitting there on your kitchen table waiting to be tasted. Whether bought from our top bakeries like Cooper's or King's or homemade by your mother, grandmother or favourite aunt, the Christmas cake always has uniqueness in it. Its grand decoration and sparkling icing put you in a Christmas daze of its own. And of course, each house is an absolute sight to see as they brighten up the roads with their newly bought Christmas lights and decorations.
As the big day comes closer, people get busy with their long awaited Christmas shopping to make the best out of this year's Christmas, getting the lights, trees and the whole enchilada. It's time to find the best recipe to make your delicious Christmas cake and begin to get that wonderful Christmas spirit within yourself.
This Christmas, like every other, there's a lot to look forward to. Just waiting for the festivities is not enough, bring out the jolly mood and make your Christmas worth remembering forever.
By Naziba Basher