As the Christmas day approaches the feverish activities reaches its peak. Ingredients for the Christmas cakes and cookies are shopped from the choicest of specialty shops. Guest lists are made and menus decided with much animated discussions. Homes are spruced up, with whatever paint or polish touch-ups needed to make it look absolutely spotless. It is time to shop for new furnishings and linen so that freshness comes into the home to welcome the Lord. Dried fruits and nuts are soaked in rum and kept away till they are needed for the cakes and cookies to be made for the big day. The centre pieces that steal the show are the Christmas cakes and baked goodies. Goodies smeared and loaded with the richness of chocolate and whipped cream. The delectable layered treats with the goodness of fruity surprises are homemade and exchanged as gifts on the Christmas day.
On the Christmas Eve sincere Christians will not miss Midnight Mass which is held to rejoice the birth of the Lord with prayers, hymns and carols. People come to Church dressed up in their new clothes and pray with full devotion. Greetings of ‘Merry Christmas’ reverberate in the air and it is nearly at dawn that they enter their homes for a short nap if at all there is time for it! The children are restless for their gifts and early Christmas morning they rush to where their gifts await. As gifts are exchanged, the cake is cut, vintage wine brought out and members of the family toast each other and wish for happiness and prosperity.
The meal most often relished on the occasion of Christmas is the family Christmas dinner. In India due the diverse regional difference the main dish can be stuffed-chicken or turkey served along with stir fried vegetables and a rich sauce that oozes with the aromas of local spices used in the dish. Other popular items include Chicken-and-Spinach Casserole, Barbecued Chicken Lasagna, Chicken Cutlets, Vindaloo etc. Chicken or mutton biryani and sometimes the expensive turkey biryani is prepared and consumed widely during the Christmas time. While, vegetarian menus include Vegetable-and-Rice Casserole, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, Corn-and-Cashew Cutlets, Mint Salad, etc. Desserts like home-made Banana-Chocolate Pancakes, Christmas Plum Cake, Chocolate Cups with Chocolate Mousse, Eggless Pineapple Mousse, Frozen Fruit Pudding, Apple Brandy Cheese Cake, Cherry Berry Cheesecake,and Quick Strawberry Cheese Cake,among many others ensure that you wind up the Christmas meal merrily.