It's the season to sing carols, eat plum cakes and make merry. Here’s our pick of places where you can celebrate the Yuletide spirit
Rajouri Garden Carnival
On till December 25, 11 am-10 pm
The second edition of one of the biggest Christmas extravaganzas in the city is pulling crowds of over two lakh with engaging activities for all age groups. With the befitting theme of Christmas Dreamland’, a huge castle welcomes you at the entrance gate — this feature will be a hit with children. Catch the magic show by Anjaan from popular reality show India’s Got Talent, dance competitions and fashion shows for all age groups, 3D laser shows, fireworks and puppet shows. Hop on to the photobooth for pictures with Santa Claus. For foodies, there is plenty to bite into at the multi-cuisine food court. Located in the grounds between West Gate mall and Shoppers Stop, this carnival will be the perfect place to make merry this Christmas.
Kids Christmas Carnival at HangOut, Select Citywalk
On till December 25, 11 am-10 pm
If your child wants to hang out with a portly, affable Santa Claus this Christmas, then this is the place to be. Families can visit the mall and meet, interact, sing, dance and get clicked with Santa. While your kids can make use of the indoor playground or the toddler zone with special kids meals, you may spend some time checking out the decked-up Christmas tree, feast on the gooey chocolate and plum cakes at the HangOut Cafe next door and enjoy the games and rides. If you’re lucky, you may just go home with some goodies hidden under the Christmas tree. Hop on to the virtual rollercoaster if you have an adventurous streak!
Christmas Skit at Epicentre, Gurgaon
December 25, 11 am-8 pm
If you want to learn about the history and the manifestations of Christmas across the world, visit Epicentre and catch two small skits on the importance of the festival. While the children share their new year resolutions and wish lists with Santa Claus, the adults can sing Christmas carols along with friends and family. Shop for goodies at the Christmas Bazaar in the Glass Coutryard Area; stop by and the Christmas workshops and dabble in some candle-making (12-6 pm) — this will be a hit with children who can learn to make door and wall hangings along with decorative wind chimes. Don’t miss the puppet show based on Charles Dickens’s classic Christmas Carol. Entry is free for all.
WOW Xmas 2012, The Great India Place mall, Noida
December 25, 2 -8 pm
With over ten participating schools, this carnival will host a variety of educational Christmas programmes on The Bible as well as the various quizzes and skits on the nativity of Jesus Christ. Also catch the WOW Xmas parade featuring skits from schools and churches like Somerville School, Queen’s Mary School, Faith Academy, St James Church and Ashirwad Church.
Santa Carnival, R-City, Ghatkopar
On till December 30
Known to have one of the tallest Christmas trees in Mumbai (at 70ft), this carnival promises to enthrall crowds through clown jugglers, balloon sculptors, tattoo artists, magicians, choir and dance troupes, puppet shows and storytelling sessions. The carnival tries to create a “winter wonderland” through elves, fairies and of course, North Pole’s favourite resident — Santa Claus.
Sparkling Christmas, Oberoi Mall, Goregaon East
Till January 1
The spirit of Christmas will come alive with timeless carols from the choir at the Oberoi Mall. Young and old can make merry at the Santa Parade, visit the Gingerbread Man’s house — all created within the mall.
Midnight Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, Colaba
If you’re looking for a traditional Christmas, the city has a vibrant Catholic community, with numerous churches where you can attend a midnight mass. The opulent Holy Name Cathedral opened its doors for worship in 1905. Now it hosts a ceremonial Christmas mass for around 3,000 people which is broadcast live across Maharashtra. The Cathedral choir starts singing carols at 9.30 pm, and the mass gets underway at 10 pm and finishes around 11.30 pm.
Midnight Mass at Saint Thomas’s Cathedral, Fort
This majestic, towering church, known for its intricate stained-glass work, was the first Anglican one in Mumbai. It opened its doors on Christmas in 1718 for the British. Carol singing starts at 10 pm, followed by mass at 10.30 pm.
Park Street Carnival
On till December 25
In the countdown to Christmas, Park Street will be lit up in all its glory as crowds will throng the carnival to celebrate the Yuletide spirit. The two-year-old Park Street Christmas carnival is an initiative of the West Bengal tourism department and has become an entertainment hub for the city come December. The pomp and show includes colourful lights and an embellished Christmas tree which has been put up at the nodal point in front of Allen Park. The ongoing 20-day festival (which began on December 16) is currently staging enthralling performances by artists like Usha Uthup and city-based bands like Hip Pockets, Bertie Da Silva, Bhoomi, Cross Winds. The stellar bands will continue to add to the Christmas fervour till December 25. The carnival also offers numerous food stalls offering Anglo-Indian and desi cuisines at affordable prices. Another atttraction is the heritage parade — vintage cars will take on the city roads to add a touch of history and glamour to the carnival.
Nicco Park Winter Carnival
On till January 27
Those with an adventurous streak, hop on the joy rides this festive season at the Nicco Park Winter carnival where the Nicco Park mascot “Sheroo” will welcome guests alongside jugglers and clowns. Apart from the many rides and activities, also catch cultural performances by Chhow dancers from Purulia and Chinese Dragon dancers. Don’t miss the daily parade by Sheroo and his friends at 4 pm every day; the fireworks will continue till 6 every evening to bring in the festive season. Feast on biryani and Mughlai fare at the Shiraz counter, south Indian cuisines at Indian Express, fries and chips at Fry Man. Since you’re in the city, don’t skip the traditional Bengali fare at Classic Kitchen.
Midnight Mass at St Paul's Cathedral Kolkata
Celebrate the Christmas spirit with lilting Christmas hymns and carols — the historical church will be decorated with intricate bells, lights and candles. The candlelight walks and the Midnight Mass at the church on Christmas Eve are huge crowd-pullers and find takers among Christians and non-Christians alike. The service begins at 11 pm and goes on till 1 am, while the church services will begin at 7.30 am on Christmas.
Christmas Gourmet Bazaar, Olive Beach, Ashoknagar
If you haven’t stocked up on your Christmas goodies yet, head to Olive Beach for some traditional English toffee and chocolate bread, nutella danish, truffles, salted almond butter crunch, Mexican citrus and vanilla sweet bread, assorted macaroons (apple pie, rum raisin, vanilla cranberry), and Olive’s legendary Christmas pudding. You can also splurge on the gourmet hamper (Rs 1,500 onward) laden with festive treats like mixed berry jams, cinnamon buns and a wide selection of cheese.
Midnight Mass at St Patrick’s Church
In the heart of the city, the church attracts scores of Bangaloreans who donate clothes to orphanages, fix up the lights inside the church and ensure that the church is sparkling clean come Christmas. Visit St Patrick’s for its traditional Midnight Mass and carol-singing — it might just be the ideal place to bring in the Yuletide spirit.