For expatriates, Christmas comes with a distinct Indian flavour

Besides time-honoured traditions like the carol singing, midnight mass, traditional sweets and stockings full of gifts, Christmas beckons people to wrap up their tasks and set out on well-deserved vacations — when acquaintances are renewed and friends and family gather. It is no different with the expatriates in Pune.

Marie Ludivine Miquinon is excited about the holidays. "Though Pune has a cool weather, it snows at this time of the year in America. Also, this is the time when you relax with your family and exchange gifts. Christmas trims adorn lampposts and streets and the sweet scent of Christmas delicacies is fresh in the air. Regally decorated Christmas trees enhance the roads and houses," says Miquinon, a homemaker who has been in Pune for one and a half year.

Though she misses the Christmas in the US, she plans to celebrate the festive season with her family and friends in Goa — on the beaches where she believes will get an authentic Christmas feeling.

Italian-born Christian Hubber, the Executive Chef at the Marriott, will be working this Christmas. This is his second Christmas in India. Though fascinated by the festive diversity of India, Hubber misses the celebrations back home. "The weather is way too cold in Italy at this time of the year. The spicy scent of sausages and smoked delicacies is high in the air and the streets are well lit and colourfully decorated with friends and families enjoying each others' company. For me, Christmas is all about spending quality time with my friends and indulging in scrumptious Christmas goodies." Working throughout the weekend, Chef Hubber says he will strive to set the proper holiday mood for the guests at Marriott.

Pearson, a guest at Oakwood Residence, Naylor Road, says: "This is the first time I am not celebrating Christmas in the UK. I was not too sure how they celebrate Christmas in India and am surprised that Oakwood would take care of so many small details. I will be celebrating Christmas at the hotel, which has a large Christmas tree in the lobby and glass paintings with motifs defining the holiday season. Carols are being played in the restaurants as well as the common areas. The gingerbread house in the lobby is gorgeous and when you walk in, the smell of the ginger cookies is so mesmerising it makes me feel at home, just like the way we used to bake cakes and cookies together with our family. The gesture of them placing a Christmas goodie basket with cakes and cookies really touched my heart. I don't feel I am missing out on anything."

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