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Is Christmas still relevant?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Amidst the celebration and reverence, it is important to spend some time reflecting, says Monarose Sheila Pereira

Look around you and you will find a need to play Santa yourself. Yesterday you were Sant ato your children, today there is a need to spread his generosity around a little more; and also to appreciate the Santas in our life. In this self centered world of violence and cut throat competition, is it time to wake up from our X’mas slumber? To dust off the snowflakes and tell our children Santa ain’t coming?  The spirit of Christmas is what we need to believe in more than ever! Santa’s not a myth; he is around you, bringing us gifts of love, smiles, good advice, a timely helping hand, a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter day. Christmas is a miracle of love, just like Dance is the miracle of movement. Christmas works on a deeper principle of ‘as you reap so shall you sow’…. be good through the year and you will be rewarded and that our angels are never far away… So prop up your favorite tree, plant your guiding star up high, and listen closely…those bells will jingle…and get ready to say thank you to your Santa!
— Terence Lewis, Dancer

 Merry Mr. Bean Christmas @ Oberoi Mall.(From Dec 17th 2010 to Jan 02nd 2011)
Have the naughtiest, funniest and the most mischievous Christmas ever with Mr. Bean! @ Oberoi Mall. Shop worth Rs 2011 and get a chance to play The Bean Stock & win exciting prizes & free parking. Mega Prize: Drive home your very own, brand new car!

Live the most electrifying & unique Christmas by getting clicked with the most lovable geek @ the Mr. Bean Photo Booth. The mall is decorated in various designs & cutouts of Mr. Bean in his funny expressions, peeping through glass side walls & danglers throughout the mall.

Christmas fiesta at Gloria Jean's Coffees. (Dec 18th 2010 to Jan 19th  2011)

Enjoy gifting this Christmas! Walk in to Gloria Jean's Coffees... Gloria Jean's Coffees, one of the leading international specialty coffee retailer has triumphed with 'Christmas Hampers for your loved ones' which will comprise of Plum cakes, Mocha Java Coffee beans, Ginger Snaps, Chocolate-chip Cookies, Assorted liquor chocolates & Gloria Jean's Coffees merchandize.

In today’s world with broad technology about low connectivity among people, the Christmas season offers some interesting rays of enlightenment.
 How does Christmas connect today? Is it relevant today and how?

With technology marching ahead, the Church needs to keep pace. Ashwin Thakkar, Worship Director, leads the way. "Churches should make good use of technology in creating a database for the church members so that they can maintain constant touch via email or sms. Church services should be compact which will help in the declining attendance. We should also concentrate on youth development. The older generation must welcome new ideas generated by the youth. “

Today with people having less time for their families, it is good to remember the Holy Family. Several social evils spring from the lack of a close well-knit family. Sandeep Menezes, Economic Research, offers some analysis. He would like the Christian church to promote a spirit of fraternity and family, wherein the economically stronger sections care for their downtrodden brethren. Reach out to youth who feel alienated or need support in these turbulent times and help them integrate responsibly with dignity into the mainstream; especially youth from vernacular families (Non-English) from our 'Westernised Parish set-up' who feel unwanted." On the same note Adolf D’Souza, Corporator says, “For me, personally, since I lost my father recently, I am looking at my parents and their role in my life. I remember Christmas of the years gone by. This year I am looking at Christmas differently. For me celebration is when we relate in goodwill with our neighbours and family.”

Just like the family, the marginalised too need special attention and guidance. Every year, as the Christmas fever grips the city, Flavia Agnes, lawyer and activist is daunted by the question – what is its relevance to the world today, and to contemporary political and social processes. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, there is very little time to ponder over these fundamental questions. For her the Christmas season seems to be an appropriate time to revisit these concerns. She wonders, “In a poverty-ridden world filled with extreme disparities, the child born in a manger brings a ray of hope and solace to the lowly and the marginalized. But does this spirituality dull the edge of the fight for justice? Using a cliché, does religion become the opium of the masses? Perhaps this is true to a certain extent. But I find that in the hectic, competitive and extremely violent world in which we live, Christ’s message of love, peace and non-violence helps us to maintain our mental equilibrium in a world filled with chaos and conflict.”

Today, people need to feel loved and cared for. Dr. Jamuna Pai, Cosmetic Physician, belives that, “Christmas, is a time for sharing and giving and it has a wonderful quality about it. It is very nice to see people going to Church for the midnight mass, dressed in their best on Christmas Eve. It impresses me to see families praying together and being together.”

So, like all other festivals, Christmas too spreads a lot of goodwill, cheer and is a time for reflection. Everyone can do with a good helping of these, after all, Christ came to free us …free us from all that binds us and prevents us from sharing His goodness.

Christmas Stollen

The shape of the Christmas Stollen was originally meant to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. As a Christmas pastry, Stollen was baked for the first time at the Saxon Royal Court in 1427 and was made with flour, yeast, oil and water. Trivia: Every year a Stollenfest takes place in Dresden.


  • Fruit & Nut Mixture l900g golden raisins l30 g candied lemon peel
  • 2 g candied orange peel
  • 10 ml rum/orange juice
  • 35 g whole almonds
  • For the sponge
  • 65g bread flour 
  • 40 ml whole milk (Cold)  
  • 3 g instant dry yeast 
  • Final Dough
  • 100g sponge (above)
  • 65 g bread flour
  • 70 g butter
  • 10 g Almond (finely chopped)
  • 5 g sugar 
  • 3 g salt
  • 2 g lemon zest, grated
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • A pinch of ground ginger 
  • A pinch of ground allspice
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • The fruit & nut mixture (above)   

To prepare the fruit & nut mixture, rinse the raisins and lemon and orange peel with warm water and combine with the rum in a plastic container. Cover and let the mixture soak at room temperature for at least 8 to 24 hrs. Just before folding the garnish into the dough in Step 4 add the nuts. To prepare the sponge, mix the flour, milk, and yeast on low speed until blended, about 2 mins. Cover and ferment until the sponge has risen and just begun to recede, 30 – 40 mins at 75°F/ 24°C. To prepare the final dough, mix the sponge, flour, butter, almond, sugar, salt, lemon zest, cloves, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon on medium speed for 3 mins. The dough should be sticky. Ferment the dough for about 55 mins. Very carefully fold in the fruit and nut mixture. Ferment the dough again for about 15mins. Shape the dough like a bread and place on a baking tray. Ferment the dough for 1½ hrs. Bake at 200°C for 40 mins.

Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus!
The figure of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is based on the patron saint of children, Saint Nicholas (270-310AD), who became one of the youngest bishops ever at age 17. At age 30 he became the Bishop of Myra, a port town on the Mediterranean Sea, that is part of modern-day Turkey. He hailed from a rich home and became well known for supporting the needy. He would often be seen, clad in red and white bishop’s robes and riding on a donkey, handing out gifts to children.

The figure of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) that we know today was introduced by artist Haddon Sundblom in advertisements for the Coca-Cola Company. In affect, the Coca-Cola Company has, over the decades, brought joy to millions of children around the world. A truly remarkable feat!


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