For 40-year-old George Santosh and his family, December is the best month of the year. Christmas celebrations take off on December 20 for these Kannadiga Christians. George says, “Christmas is not a one-day affair with us. We start on the 20th and go on for the next 10 to 12 days. It’s a whole lot of fun as the family comes together.”
For George, Christmas brings with it a message of giving. “Like the Bible says, ‘God loves us so much that he gave us his Holy son Jesus’. This festive season is all about giving and the best way to celebrate Christmas is to help the underprivileged how ever you can. There was a time when we had a lot of non-Christian friends coming home and celebrating Christmas. Now, we have limited ourselves to being with the underprivileged. Mostly, we serve the maids, sweepers and widows who come home,” he says, adding that their Bilekahalli home is always open to all who come during the festival.
George continues to follow his father’s footsteps in making the crib. “I lost my father three years ago but I still follow the customs he introduced me to. He was a professional designer in tool and dye and so he would be in his creative element when making the crib. Each year, I come up with a different theme,” he says.
Like most other Christians, George’s family celebrates Christmas with wine and cake.
“We are now a family of four with my mother, my wife, son and myself. My sister makes good wine and my wife bakes delicious cakes. An exchange of wines and cakes with friends and family continues during the season. I had planned to prepare turkey for Christmas, but unfortunately my brother-in-law has met with an accident. We might have to skip the mass too,” he says.