Informant SM is a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He is 20 years old and originally from India. He is very passionate about philanthropy, specifically helping poorer parts of India and aspires to one day become a doctor.
The informant tells me(AK) about how his Indian family celebrates Christmas and the winter time as a whole. He is very happy to share this and it seems as though talking about the Christmas time reminds him of very fond memories.
SM: I don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional religious manner. It’s all about the gift exchange and just spending time with family for us.
AK: Do you have you any other traditions that are related to Christmas?
SM: We always put out stockings and because we have a younger cousin, we always put out milk and cookies to kind of show the fact that Santa may be real.
AK: Do you think the way you celebrate Christmas is very similar to the way other Indian people celebrate it?
SM: To some extent yes, but I know of a lot of Indian families that don’t even exchange gifts. Of course there are some Christian Indian families who definitely celebrate Christmas much more religiously than we do. But I think Christmas is just all about spending time with family and being around family. Everyone has Christmas off, so no matter how you celebrate, it’s the time of year where you can just be around family. I think that’s the biggest thing about Christmas, and everyone regardless of how they celebrate can take solace in the fact that they can be around their family. This is really important to me also because now that I’m in college, I’m not able to see my family as much as I used to.
AK: Yeah, I totally agree. Thanks for sharing with me man.
I found the informant’s experience with Christmas to be very similar to my own. Although my family does not always explicitly exchange gifts or put up stockings, we always celebrate the festivities together. For example, we have gone on day trips together to nearby beaches or unexplored cities. Other times we simply spend time together during the day, then watch a movie we all have not seen at night. I will say that as a child, my family definitely celebrated Christmas more traditionally. We would purchase a tree and put gifts under the tree.