Ah! The time has finally arrived! The weather is frosty, sweaters and mufflers need to be taken out of suitcases and it is, at last, winter holiday time! The year is coming to an end, but there is still one festival to be celebrated enthusiastically before entering the New Year. Yes, you guessed it right - it’s Christmas time!

Jingles, carols, sweets, lights, snow, a glad atmosphere, a smile on everybody’s face, drinking hot beverages and many more; all these and more make us realize that Christmas is right around the corner.

Christmas is not just a season; it is a feeling! It is a festival of cheer and joy and is celebrated annually on the 25th of December to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. People are in a very frolicsome and happy mood, since it is the holiday time! There is Christmas cheer all around! Christians celebrate it all across the globe. However, religion does not restrict people from other religions from participating in the merrymaking!

This festival is a symbol of love, light, hope, and peace that makes this a joyful season for true believers. And, it wouldn’t have been more wonderful to kickstart the celebrations at Nirmiti Academy than speaking and sharing notes on the ‘Spirit of Christmas’!

How does one define the ‘Spirit of Christmas’?

Christmas traditions include a variety of customs, religious practices and rituals associated with the celebration of Christmas. Many of these beliefs vary by country or region, while others are universal.

Christmas Tree:
Starting with the most exhilarating one, decorating the ‘Christmas Tree’. Followed by many people around the world, decorating the Christmas tree is considered a very special tradition. An evergreen conifer, such as spruce, pine or fir, or an artificial tree of similar appearance is brought home and decorated jovially! Colorful garlands, bright lights, fancy tinsels and special Christmas Tree ornaments are used to embellish the tree. This brings the entire family together as all the family members take part in decorating the tree whole-heartedly! Gifts are kept around the Christmas tree for friends and relatives to collect. During the ornamentation, quality time is spent with buddies and family members; jokes are cracked, experiences are shared and laughter is to be heard!

The Giving attitude:
The true meaning of Christmas is in ‘Giving’. All the gifts nestling at the Christmas tree symbolize love and affection between you and your people. It is not an obligation but sheer love for all those who make your life truly special. The little ornaments are metaphoric of all those little moments of your life that one can cherish at the end of the year. The angel at the top of the tree is our guardian, our conscience, who is more confident of our abilities than anyone else around. This trait also talks a lot about your personality. Ringing in Christmas with your friends and dear ones and appreciating them with little gifts is positive relationship etiquette too.

Visit to the Church:
Visiting the church is one of the most peaceful, calming and lively things to do on the Christmas Eve. Melodious, religious carols are heard along with the ringing of the bells. These carols are simply jolly hymns or musical folk songs that are sung during this festival. Not just the church, adults and children also take part in caroling from door to door. The churches are fancily ornamented with a lot of lights, bells, wreaths and candles! Yummy cakes are devoured and ‘Merry Christmas’ is wished to everyone who is present at the church!
For the celebration of Christmas, the viewing of enactment of the nativity play is one of the oldest traditions. It is primarily seen in churches but even in schools or theatres. Students and teachers enact the nativity play with determination and dedication in schools.

Visiting the church and offering prayers is equally important to doing service and offering your help to the needy in many ways. Helping others is such a virtue of our Personality that one should continually enhance. A small gesture a day takes you ahead in your kindness quotient. If you have identified few giveaways, it also shows your strength to disassociate your possessions. Truly an act of mindfulness!

Santa Claus is coming to town:
Ho! Ho! Ho! Who can forget Santa Claus when its Christmas time? Even though he isn’t a real person [there is a very long history behind it] many people, especially children, truly believe that he is real and love him faithfully.
Santa Claus has many names like Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa. It is told to children that if they behave well all year round, they will receive presents from Santa! Sadly that is not the case. But parents being loyal, present their kids with lots of gifts, stating that it’s from Father Christmas! Some parents even follow the trend that had been started on social media a few years ago, gifting children four things; something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read!

Secretly, we still wish that there is Santa! But, to think of it, you are your Santa! One feels honored to be a Santa to anyone. We all have Santa in our deepest conscience where we can gift others and ourselves with gifts of life. It could be simply bag full of goodies that spread cheer, confidence, health and fitness, strength to take up every opportunity, and more.

Flea Markets:
Another fun way to enjoy Christmas to its fullest is to visit flea markets and Christmas fests exclusively arranged in nooks and corners of urban city! ‘Winter Wonderlands’ or ‘Christmas Festivals’ are arranged and are filled with various rides, ornaments, ice-skating rinks, scrumptious food and several Christmas delicacies. Cookies, warm coffee, hot chocolate, burgers, candies, pretzels and many more are sold in large numbers. Adults dressed up as Santa Claus bring a huge smile to the faces of the children. It is truly an embodiment of ‘wonderland’ with smiling faces to be seen everywhere. Also because it’s the holiday season, people forget about their worries and work and have fun carelessly!
These traditions, along with many others, have been followed for many centuries in several parts of the world. Also, a fun and casual activity is trending these days in schools, colleges and offices known as ‘Secret Santa’. A group of people working in the same function or department come together to celebrate Secret Santa initiative by keeping an anonymous gift to a certain person whose name is assigned to you by the coordinators. The person finds immense happiness to be gifted and feel special by many secretively. By doing this, kindness can be spread to everyone and not just the people you know or love!

Good times:
‘Appreciation’ is what people yearn for these days in the practical gadget-friendly days. So many feel dissatisfied and lonely in their real lives unlike their popular and trending status in social media world that such days bring more warmth in you! Rather than sending only online festive messages, make it a point to have a small cozy get-together over cookies and cakes and share gratitude and merry as we close the year! The personal touch in spreading festive wishes and more smiles make a huge difference in bonding and networking. Gift giving is one of the practices followed to simply appreciate each other’s presence. The practice of giving gifts, according to Christian tradition, is symbolic of the presentation of the gifts by the Three Wise Men to infant Jesus.

Although there are people of different ages and classes, what gets them connected is their belief in the true spirit of Christmas! Even if you didn’t know about these rituals, we agreed that this is just what you need to know. The true spirit of Christmas lies in spreading warmth, sharing happiness, being kind to each and every person and letting go of your grudges. It is about keeping that faith, hope and love in our hearts.
Even though there is a chill in the air, the warmth that Christmas brings along with it every year is the most astounding feeling! Rightly said, Christmas is not a season; it is a feeling! It is that powerful time of the year full of reflection, kindness; joy, a time of sharing gratitude and love! As we ring in celebration at our Academy on Christmas Eve, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May the simple joys of Christmas bring warmth in your heart and lighten up your soul! Let us embrace the spirit of Christmas!

Author's Bio: 

The writer of the article is Personal Excellence Coach in one of the Top 10 rated Personality Development Institutes in India in 2019. For more such Personal excellence and transformational tips, visit website www.nirmitiacademy.com