The streets are lit up; everyone’s done wrapping their presents; homes are beaming with colourful lights; trees twinkling in one corner of the house and the delicious smell of mince pies baking fills every household as Christmas approaches. Some Christmas traditions are celebrated the same way everywhere, but can often be interpreted in different ways. To help get into the festive spirit, seven families from the city reveal what they have planned for Christmas this year, and the celebrations that make Christmas so special. -- Anisha
Michael Andrews and Katherine Hadda, US Consul General
Katherine Hadda, the new US Consul General to India in Hyderabad, who previously served as Minister Counsellor for Economic Affairs at the US Embassy in Rome, and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with 28 years of experience in policy positions in Asia, Europe, and Washington DC; along with her husband Michael Andrews tell us how excited they are to ring in Christmas in India. “This is our first Christmas in India and we look forward to celebrating the holiday season with our Indian friends and colleagues. Christmas is such a delightful time of the year that transcends one particular religion and is now widely accepted as an opportunity for sharing and rejoicing, across the globe. We wish everyone a joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year on behalf of the American people and the US Consulate General Hyderabad.”
Andrew and Sang Hee McAllister
For British Deputy High Commissioner to Hyderabad Andrew and wife Sang Hee McAllister, Christmas is one of the rare times of year when they get together and spend some relaxed time in each other’s company. Andrew and Sang Hee reveal their somewhat non-traditional views on the holiday, and the unique ways in which they celebrate the season.
This Christmas Andrew: I think that somehow Christmas has become so commercialised, and that it has lost its true meaning. Our family does not believe in fairy lights, endless parties, and extravagant presents; neither are we religious. But we are a multi-cultural family and believe that this is a time of year which simply spells out celebration with your family.
Sang Hee: I am Korean, and Andrew is Scottish. But we’ve celebrated Christmas, not as an ostentatious act of assimilation, but as a natural participation in the season’s spirit of togetherness, and we want to continue to do that. Ultimately it’s about celebrating the true meaning of the festival: family, food, and lots of fun. Our daughter, Fiona, who is coming down to celebrate it with us, has planned to bake a cake – something that both of us are looking forward to!
A Christmas Feast Although the traditional Christmas feast usually consists of roast turkey, served with stuffing, roast potatoes, and any other vegetables, Sang Hee declares she will instead be using chicken, and infuse it with the flavours of mulled red wine to liven up her Christmas meal.
Andrew: Wealth is not something we require, nor is it important to be happy and to lead a quality life.
So I hope health and happiness are always with us.
Sang Hee: I wish for health and happiness in all its forms to be bestowed upon my family.
Andrew: Even though Christmas is really about coming together as a family, I think the festival is truly for children. I remember this time as a kid when I used to run downstairs to see what gifts I had received and open them.
Sang Hee: We didn’t have any traditions at home when I grew up. So I’m really into making our own little traditions and memories with my family.