This year Santa has put a clause on the workaholic choreographer Remo D'souza. He has been firmly told that he has to put a pause on work because the children are coming home for the holidays. And, who is he to deny Santa’s wish?
In an exclusive conversation with The Free Press Journal, Remo and his wife, Lizelle, talk about Christmas excitement, their plans for the day, and more.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Remo: It means celebration, a time to spend with family and friends, and to unwind.
Lizelle: It’s a pretty special time for us. We have always celebrated Christmas with friends and family, especially the kids.
What are your plans for the day?
Remo: I leave that to Lizelle to decide. But, I know there is always a Christmas lunch and evening mass.
Lizelle: A traditional Christmas lunch and evening mass, followed by a small celebration with friends.
How different are the plans from any other year?
Remo: Not different from other years. However, this year the children will be home for Christmas.
Lizelle: Both the children will be back home as it’s their Christmas break. We are looking forward to spending some time together.
Do you have a special Christmas lunch?
Lizelle: Lunch is our Christmas feast. We have roast chicken with gravy, bread, rice, mashed potatoes, and chicken steak, mostly on these lines.
How do you decorate your house for the festival and do you keep gifts in stockings for the children?
Lizelle: We put up the Christmas tree, the house is decorated with reindeers and sledge, Santa Claus, snowman, gnomes, and ornaments. We also have a crib, lights, and presents.
Remo: We put up a Xmas tree, both at home and the office. Although the kids are now old enough to know about the presents, we still try and put something special in their stockings each year.
Who decorates the tree?
Lizelle: It’s mostly Remo and me along with my friends, and home staff.
Do you attend midnight mass?
Remo: We attend a mass. It’s either Lizelle’s parish or the Good Shepherd Church.
Lizelle: Last year our elder son accompanied us.
Are you religious or is Christmas an excuse for a family celebration?
Lizelle: Festivals are always an excuse for a celebration.
Remo: We celebrate all festivals. We completed 22 years of Ganesh Chaturthi this year and celebrate Eid, Diwali, and Holi as well. Lizelle fasts during Navratri.
How did you spend Christmas during childhood?
Remo: I was in Jamnagar. We went to the church to help father clean it for the mass. Before Christmas Day, we’d collect clothes from the air force colony that one wished to give away. And on Christmas, we visited the orphanage and gave clothes to the children and attended mass later in the day.
Lizelle: It was the best time. The whole family would come together; my mom would make everything at home... The sweets, and the feast. I would look forward to it.
What sweets do you have whether made at home or bought from a shop?
Lizelle: Sweets generally comprise marzipan, milk cakes, plum cakes, jeju, karanji, Guava cheese, rum balls, pies, gingerbread, cinnamon rolls, and cakes. We also share sweets with neighbours and if time permits, I send hampers to my friends.
Do you take a break from work during Christmas?
Remo: Yes, we take a couple of days off but we are always working (laughs).
Lizelle: I tell Remo to take the day off at least on Christmas. He is always working. He grudgingly agrees. But we are looking forward to taking some days off this year. As we said earlier, the kids are coming home. They have been away at the university and we haven’t seen them in what feels like years.
What is your Christmas wish this year?
Lizelle: I have written my Christmas wish in my letter to Santa.
Remo: I keep my wishes to myself.
Any message for our readers for Christmas?
Lizelle: Both of us would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas... Spend time with your loved ones.
Remo: A Merry Christmas to all... Celebrate with your loved ones, be responsible, and maintain harmony.
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