Tag Archives: christmas

Warm Smiles on Frozen Ice

Every city has its own way of celebrating festivals. I always look forward to the Christmas tree on ice rink in Pittsburgh. The entire PPG place comes alive during Christmas. Winter Garden is decorated with Santa of the world and live orchestra. The place holds a special warm family vibe during Christmas. People, dressed in their winter best, skate on the ice with their families. One would see people of all age groups in all colors of sweaters, mufflers and hats. Toddlers would be learning to skate. Their determination to skate is so strong that even after multiple falls on the frozen ice, they stand up and try again. They always have their elders to cheer them. This just reminds one that family support helps one defeat all problems even that caused by freezing cold.

This tradition is followed in the city every year, still it amazes me so much that I go there every year. The warmth of the smiles overcomes the bitterness of the cold. The secret is the presence of family. No matter how cold it is, the warmth of families skating together makes this a sight to behold. The spirit of festival lies in the time one spends with near and dear ones. When we are with our loved ones, the place and surroundings don’t matter, all that matters is the presence of everyone. The belief that there are people to love me, to cheer me even when I fail, is all one needs to be happy. A common question is “What is the best gift?”. I think the answer is to spend quality time without any gadgets buzzing around. So the next time you wonder about doing something special for someone, just spend quality with them.

Meeting Santa Claus

One of the most cherished events of Christmas is arrival of Santa Claus. His loud ‘Ho Ho Ho’ and the jingling bells can bring smile on any face. As a kid, I used to wonder what might be there in his big bag. I always thought he dressed in red and white. While walking across downtown, I came to an exhibition in Winter garden. Although it was -4 degrees Celsius outside, the presence of warm smiles drew me towards it. The place was every child’s fantasy. A huge Christmas tree with ginger bread houses all around it. A live orchestra playing Christmas carols. But the most amazing part were the Santa Claus of the world. It seems he is known by different names in different countries and each culture has its own representation. But the sparkling eyes, genuine smile and the adorable personality was common in all of them. As I walked past each of them, I felt as if I am transported to that country, waiting like a child for my Santa to arrive. It seemed as if I was meeting Santa Claus differently. The aroma of cakes, muffins, biscotti and hot chocolate added the festive flavor to the event.

Santa Claus can bring smile even in freezing temperatures. It reminds me, a genuine warm smile can win our hearts even on the coldest day. Often we are so carried away in our day to day issues that we forget to smile properly. Sometimes a smile from a dear one is all we need to solve the biggest of problems. Maybe that is why festivals are held, just to remind us to smile, meet our dear ones and be happy. They are also the time to go out and enjoy the city. So the next time if someone asks you to describe Santa Claus, make sure to mention the smile because his outfit may be different but the smile is the same genuine, adorable one.

Magical Light up Night

On a lethargic morning last week I was browsing through Facebook, when a notification popped up. It said about a light up night in Pittsburgh downtown on 17th November’2017. On further inquiry I found it was a tradition. So me and three of my colleagues decided to visit downtown on that day. First we had planned to come home after work and then start but one of us suggested, that would result into further delays due to co-ordination. So we started from office right after work at 6:00 pm. The first route we took had a traffic jam so we took a detour. Once we reached downtown, we felt like we are on a festival night. The streets were decorated with lights and people were happily roaming around. The next challenge was to find a parking space. Luckily we found one after searching for a small time.

We walked till Market Square, there we were greeted by a European market. There were shops for Christmas decoration articles, gifts and food. It was freezing cold but the market had a warm atmosphere. People had come with their families. Soon the Christmas Carols started. It reminded me of the fairs during festivals in my hometown. My colleague suggested having strudel which was unknown to all of us. I had a delicious apple strudel. Surprisingly we felt warm after having it. The cold winds reminded us of hot chocolates. We spotted a Starbucks but one of us came up with an idea of exploring something local so we went to Nicholas Coffee.

The Coffee shop

We were amazed at the variety of coffee seeds there. The aroma of brewing Coffee welcomed us. We had hot chocolates with whipped cream.We came out just when the Christmas tree was about to be lighted and witnessed the amazing lighting. We even met another colleague.

The lighted Christmas Tree

After the lights we went to the Duquesne Boulevard to see the fireworks. A rock concert was going on. Luckily we got a parking from where the fireworks would be visible. It was 0 degrees celcius but the wait was worth it as the sky was lit with colorful crackers. The sky appeared like a palette of glittering colors. We watched the entire show and then returned. I thank Pittsburgh for this magical evening and my colleague for taking us to this event. So the next time you are in Pittsburgh around Thanksgiving, make sure you see the Light up Night.

The Fireworks

The Colorful sky

The Christmas Tree

Christmas used to be a special occasion in school. We used to start preparing right from 1st December. Every class used to perform be it a play or a song before the school closed for Christmas holidays. The hall used to be decorated on that day. I used to look forward to see the Christmas Tree. Even as a grown-up I love seeing it. This year I was fortunate enough to be in USA in December. Hence as Christmas started approaching, it was available everywhere from Malls to offices. I even saw trees of different colors.

Christmas Trees in display

Christmas Trees in display

A white Christmas Tree

A white Christmas Tree

Some places had a decorated tree from first December itself. These trees gave a feeling of festive season.

A decorated Christmas Tree

A decorated Christmas Tree

The best part was visiting Washington DC on 25th December and witness a large Christmas Tree. It is decorated with lights of different colors. Although it was chilling cold, yet the whole scene was very warm with families surrounding the trees and the children happily playing around.

Christmas Tree at Washington DC

Christmas Tree at Washington DC

The Christmas Tree at the botanical garden had a small train running around it. This gave a feeling of Santa approaching. At another place a small village was created around it.

At Botanical Garden

At Botanical Garden

Train around the Tree

Train around the Tree

Village Surrounded by Christmas Trees

Village Surrounded by Christmas Trees

The whole ambiance was so beautiful and homely. It was also very peaceful as there was hardly any traffic. It was further enhanced by the Church bells ringing. I think this is the spirit of Christmas. To come together and spend time with your near and dear ones.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

An event to remember

An image of december

Today is 23rd december’2013. The month of december always reminds me of snow covered roads with coniferous trees on both sides as displayed in the image above. The most memorable 23rd december for me would be 23rd december’1995. I was in school then. It was probably the last year I was going to spend there. My school was Auxilium Convent high school. Christmas used to be really special as we used to prepare a month before. Since 25th was a monday so the last working day before Christmas was 23rd. I was selected to be a part of the Crip decoration. I was to be one of the three merchants who visit after Christ was born.

We started rehearsing about 2 weeks ago. This used to be so exciting that we used to look forward to the practice times right from assembly at the start of the day. We used to enact the scene where the three merchants arrive after the birth of Christ. The skit used to start with Carols. These carols were so sweet that everyone used to be mesmerised. The house captons ensured everything was organized from the way the choir stood to narration of the event. As the day used to come near we used to start looking for designs for the crowns.

On 23rd december’1995, we started dressing right after assembly. I had borrowed a bright saree from mummy and prepared my beautiful crown with golden paper. After dressing up with the saree, one of the teachers used to draw the moustache with sketchpens. This used to be a challenge as we used to keep laughing due to the tickling sensation. The entire school right from first grade to tenth grade used to sit in the hall. The hal was buzzing with noise when the principle entered. The welcome address was given by the Head girl and then began our event. It ended with a huge applause. Each class had their own dance or skit after our event. We stood as part of the crip all through the event. The closure note was given by the Principal. After this we went to the nearby room and changed. Everyone was excited as we were going to have holidays till 2nd of january. We wished everyone a Merry Christmas and parted with “See you next year”.

These events used to be a window to knowing people of other classes. I had created many friends through such activities. I wish it were possible to have these kind of events in offices as they would encourage team spirit and again give everyone an opportunity to know others. As for the image, years later I got an opportunity to travel in Aspen and saw my imagination come true.