The charm of Bollywood is not limited to just the subcontinent. Its glamour and glitz makes people across the globe starry-eyed and often even lures some to travel all the way and be part of the industry leaving behind the comfort of their motherland. But it is during the Holiday Season and special occasions like these that one wants to go back to their loved ones. This year, with the pandemic making travelling extra difficult, all they can do is create their own special corners of hope and cheer and relive the precious memories of spending Christmas back home.
Suzanne Bernert, actor, hails from Germany
My fondest Christmas: Taking my husband Akhil to Germany to celebrate Christmas together for the first time. Due to shoots we could never do it. So after wrap up of Ashoka TV show in 2016 we snatched the opportunity. My mom just said yesterday how much she misses us and how great it was when Akhil decorated his first Christmas Tree, had his first sip of German Gluehwein (German Mulled Wine) and all the yummy delights like Lebkuchen (special cookies)and Stollen (a kind of fruit bread).
How would you spend Christmas back home? Christmas falls in Germany on the 24th and exchange of gifts happens in the evening... Going to churches and chapels prior to 24th to look at the decorations and the "krippe" (Christmas crib) is definitely a tradition, and visiting Christmas markets all over the area, standing in the cold with a Gluehwein in hand and listening to traditional live music, running into neighbours and friend, and of course the Midnight Mass! Also, we have dinner at my brother, Markus’s, place with the whole family…that is our Christmas tradition...this year we will be missing it.
What are your Christmas plans this year? Christmas plans this year have not really materialised. I decorated our home in Mumbai a little bit, but that’s about it.
Nuno Oliveira, photographer and director, hails from Portugal
Fondest Christmas memory: Because I travel a lot and don’t get to see my family as much as I would like, so Christmas with them is always special. My fondest Christmas memory would be when my sisters and nephews were home for the festival. I was just back from a trip and I got gifts for my nephews, their excitement of unwrapping those gifts on the 25th morning made it so special. There is magic in Christmas and it makes all these memories an everlasting one.
How would you spend Christmas back home? When I’m in Portugal, I spend Christmas with my family. My mom cooks a traditional Christmas meal called Consoada, which consists of codfish with green vegetables and boiled potatoes. Then we gather around the Christmas tree and the Crèche to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Sometimes we go for Midnight Mass too.
What are your Christmas plans this year? Christmas is very different this year because of COVID. My mother is in Angola, one of my sisters lives in Austria, and travelling is very complicated. So we are hoping to celebrate twice as much next year. My Christmas will be on an airplane as I’m flying on the 25th early morning.
Florian Hurel, celebrity hair and makeup stylist, hails from France
Fondest Christmas memory: My fondest memory is from a few years back when all of us were home for Christmas. My dad made sure that our family made the most of the time and cooked his specialties while we decorated the whole house making it ready for the celebration. Then in the evening we all dressed up and sat around the Christmas tree and exchanged gifts. And then we enjoyed those sumptuous meals prepared by my dad.
How would you spend Christmas back home? Christmas in France is all about spending time with family. There is lots of food and wine and we visit church too. We make Réveillon, which we eat on Christmas Eve. We make traditional dishes like roast turkey with chestnuts or roast goose, oysters, foie gras, lobster, venison and cheeses. For dessert, a chocolate sponge cake log called a bûche de Noël is normally eaten.
What are your Christmas plans this year? This year I will be celebrating the festival with Rii (wife), though I will miss my family back home a lot. We are going to cook some yummy food at home and sit around our Christmas tree and watch some movies.