Christmas is a festival which brings people together. Decorating houses with lights, trees and hollies along with inviting guests to dinner feasts is a common way it is celebrated across the world, as families join hands together to do everything from scratch and spend some quality time together during the winter as the year comes to a close. However, with the passing years, many coming-of-age traditions like Christmas bonfires and nightclub parties have started to make their place in the Holiday celebrations, which are more commonly celebrated with friends or colleagues of a similar age.
Does this clandestine shift in the celebratory styles of the December merriment signal a deeper change? Does the new generation of people, especially Christians, feel less attached to their familial traditions?
22-year-old Cyril from Jaipur admitted that he feels the change in attitudes towards the festivity in his social circle. “These days people feel they should hit the pub or the club with their friends as they are excited by the high-energy crowd and flashy atmosphere,” he told.

A street illuminated with lights in form of a giant Santa Claus ahead of the Christmas festival celebration at Shreebhumi area, in Kolkata on Friday.

Hailing from Jaipur, Cyril also noted that several of his childhood Christmas traditions, notably making plum cake from scratch and getting it baked personally from a local bakery, have greatly reduced now. “Earlier my grandparents used to do all preparations for the festivities, including baking the cake. However nowadays, we are all living a ‘fast life’, with barely any free time. Plus, the markets have so many varieties of pre-made cakes that we have gotten pampered by it,” he said. Time constraints were also mentioned by Benison, 22, particularly in the context of the metropolitan city of Delhi, where he currently resides. “I feel time runs faster here….people don’t have time for their family. They go to the office, come back and sleep, and the next day back to the office. They are actually running,” he said in a conversation with ANI.
Recalling his older days from his home state from Kerala, which has a sizeable Christian community, Benison highlighted that people from ‘all religions’ took part in the festivity and ‘went to each other’s houses to distribute cakes and personally see each other’, something he felt wasn’t the case in Delhi. “I feel people from other religions don’t celebrate Christmas to that extent in Delhi. Here, it is a more corporate phase, as the malls or shopping centres which are decorated for Christmas. We don’t have our houses decorated, but the malls and all….because people are going there to celebrate Christmas instead of taking out time for their near-and-dear ones,” he added. Twenty-six-year-old Natasha, who lives in Mumbai, also shared similar sentiments about the festivities in her city, noting a ‘western’ influence on the Christmas activities happening there.
“I feel that the celebrations here are more ‘Westernized’ with restaurants having Christmas trees, Christmas cookies and desserts all over the place….many parties are organized and everyone is having ‘Secret Santa’ in their office,” she told ANI.
“It feels more ‘doctored’, as if organizations are telling you, “it is Christmas!”,” she added. However, despite the influence, Natasha did highlight that Mumbai hasn’t literally ‘adopted’ a foreign culture in the name of Christmas. She felt Indian Christians are quite diverse and their way of celebrating the festival may differ from region to region.
“If you go and see the celebrations in the North-East, they are very different from the way they are in Kerala or in Goa. Even among the Maharashtrian Christians there are unique ways of celebrating this festival,” she said.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Aana, has her priorities clear about Christmas from a young age itself. “Christmas is all about family. We have to give up our friends’ plans for it,” she said in a conversation with ANI. Currently in Class 12th, Aana has been on a tight-schedule due to her upcoming Board Examinations. She revealed that her family often complained that she doesn’t give ‘importance to them’ or ‘spend time with them’. “Christmas is hence, very important to me as I can spend time with my family,” she added. Be it at pubs dancing with friends, or at home with family, Christmas can be celebrated in as many ways as many people exist in the world. Small differences in the celebratory cultures may result from a number of factors which don’t necessarily imply that the new generation Christians are experiencing a dissonance from their familial traditions. As long as one feels the joy and cheer of the Holiday Spirit, any celebration counts, traditional or not.