5 Ways to Have a Very Desi Christmas

Millions of South Asians celebrate Christmas globally, but is it possible to have a more Desi-inspired holiday? Here are five ways you can.

5 Ways to Have a More Desi Christmas

It's almost like combining Christmas and Diwali

Christmas is full of traditions like turkey, lights, and hymns but more families want to put a little twist on their celebrations.

Especially those from South Asian backgrounds who want to put some Desi culture into the festive period.

There are small hacks and little changes that households can do that merge different cultures to have a unique holiday.

After all, why can’t there be a spin on classic Christmas carols or much-loved dishes from the jolly season?

From quirky jumpers to remixes of historical songs, there are a lot of ways to have a unique occasion.

So, here are some tips that you can try to have a more Desi-inspired celebration.

Desi Inspired Food

5 Ways to Have a More Desi Christmas

Ever had a tandoori roast dinner? Not many people have and it’s perhaps the easiest way to implement some Desi vibes on Christmas.

Marinating a turkey, chicken, fish, or any other meat/fish with some South Asian flavours can spice up some regular dishes.

You can even adapt certain recipes for vegetarian mouths as well such as aloo tiki using roast potatoes or cheese and spinach tart using paneer.

However, you can use traditional Christmas leftovers to make more Desi dishes as well.

Try a unique turkey curry using garam masala, coriander seeds, and yoghurt.

Or you can fill up the kitchen with aromatics by making lagan nu custard, a sweet dessert using cardamom powder, condensed milk, and almonds.

DESIblitz has some recipes here to help you get started on a menu that will leave your stomach full of culture.

Christmas Jumper

5 Ways to Have a More Desi Christmas

Quirky, cool and snazzy jumpers are a massive part of the holidays, whether it’s on Christmas day or out partying with friends.

They can sometimes be cheesy or have geometric prints but that’s the whole fun about wearing one.

However, you can now get jumpers that are Desi-themed.

You can purchase items with Punjabi phrases on there, Pakistani flags, or even pictures of a brown Santa.

Not only will these catch the eye of friends, co-workers, and family, but they’ll give you an edge in competitions which can normally go on in the workplace.

In some cases, you can personalise some jumpers too.

If you have a certain South Asian design in mind to get into the festive spirit more, then sites like Etsy can be a good place to start.

Check out some jumpers and get some inspiration here.

Music With a Twist

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Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble and Mariah Carey are all staples on the radio when it’s Christmas.

South Asian comedians like Lily Singh and Jus Reign have released holiday singles that are light-hearted and funny.

But, there have been songs released that families can add to their playlists and fit into the celebratory mode of the holiday.

For example, Bollywood has released numerous tracks that can set the Desi mood for evenings full of drink and food.

‘Nineteen Fifty Six’ from Anari (1959) and ‘Aata Hai Aata Hai Santa Claus Aata Hai’ from Shaandaar (1974) are just some examples.

Even the classic ‘Happy New Year’ from Do Jasoos (1974) which is composed by Ravindra Jain can bring a certain warmth to the household.

A simple search on YouTube can bring up millions of remixes of classic Christmas songs like ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Silent Night’.

Put a different spin on the tracks you play out this year and have everyone in the party spirit.

Decor

5 Ways to Have a More Desi Christmas

The most creative way that one could have a more Desi Christmas is by using South Asian-inspired decorations.

Christmas trees, baubles, and ornaments can be painted with intricate designs or even covered with patterned fabric.

Jyoti Kaur from Birmingham says she’s started to decorate her house with my cultural designs:

“I get snazzy napkins from Indian shops and fit them around baubles and even wrap them around the wire part of the lights.

“It gives more colour to everything and breaks away from the same old green and red.

“I also feel like it’s fun for the kids to see something a bit different on this holiday.”

Christmas is very much a time for family and loved ones to gather and celebrate.

Having a unique scheme for the Christmas decor can get the kids involved, as Jyoti highlighted, but also make it more fun for them growing up.

It will also impress friends and guests who will see a different side to festive decor.

Fireworks

5 Ways to Have a More Desi Christmas

Fireworks aren’t traditional for Christmas celebrations but they do add a fun dimension to the holiday.

It’s almost like combining Christmas and Diwali as both events are full of bright lights.

Not only will these add a new dimension to the partying, but will allow all the family to admire the spectacular bangs and crackles.

The kids will be full of excitement and opening presents along with lighting fireworks will give them so much happiness.

Likewise, it’s also a chance for the adults to have some fun.

There are Christmas firework displays but it’s very easy to set this up at home.

Fireworks mixed with the smell of a tandoori turkey, Bollywood Christmas songs, and quirky jumpers mean you can have a showstopping Desi Christmas.

All the elements that make South Asia so rich in culture can be applied to anything.

Mix it up this year and provide some different takes on food and decorations which can make this Christmas unforgettable.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

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Videos courtesy of YouTube.