This post is a part of the Christmas Around The World series, in which bloggers from across the globe will be telling us all about Christmas in their home country. Today we have Renuka from Voyager For Life, sharing an insight into the holiday season in India.

Why don’t you start by introducing yourself?

I’m Renuka from Voyager For Life. I’m a travel blogger and photographer from India, who loves travelling and clicking photos. I think I am fortunate to be born in India, as it’s such an interesting country to photograph and it’s a world in itself.

What does a typical Christmas day look like in India?

Since I am an Indian Christian, I can give you the real picture of an Indian Christian family’s Christmas celebrations. A typical Christmas day starts with dressing up for the Christmas morning Church service, going to church, meeting friends and relatives, enjoying special meals, lots of photo sessions through the day and then entertaining guests towards the evening.  

What food is on the dinner table on Christmas day?

A Christmas dinner table in India looks sumptuous and beautiful; it usually comprises chicken and mutton curries, pulaw, biryani and kebabs. I don’t know much about South Indians, but North Indians like to celebrate everything with a lot of fanfare.

Christmas cake is typically the highlight of the sweets. But yes, we do make other stuff too, such as gujiya [a sweet dumpling], shakarpare [a sweet, deep fried dough] and namakpare [a crunchy pastry snack].

What are the essential activities in the run up to Christmas?

Christmas season begins as early as the end of November. Different churches start preparing for cantatas, carols, and various other Christmas programs. Most of the Christian families do up their homes, with whitewashing, changing curtains, etc. We get extra active with our preparations especially around December 20th, when we start shopping, buying gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, baking the Christmas cake, etc.

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

I have many favourite Christmas memories; my childhood and teenage Christmases were filled with fun and festivities. However, my most memorable Christmases were when we used to visit different homes for carol singing at night.

My favourite Christmas carols are All Come All Ye Faithful, Hark The Herald Angels Sing and Joy To The World. I think carol singing is the best part of Christmas, as it evokes the real spirit of Christmas – 'Yes, Christ is born!'

What was your favourite Christmas gift as a child?

I don’t remember any material gift, but the legacy of faith that I received from my parents and grandparents, that Jesus was born to bring joy into our lives, is more special and adorable to me.

Thanks Renuka! Are there any other Indian readers out there? What does your Christmas look like?