Kerala gears up to celebrate Christmas in its full glory after two years of COVID restrictions

Annie Renny

Markets across Kerala are soaked in the Christmas spirit.

Photo: K Abubacker/Mathrubhumi

People all across Kerala, young and old alike, are ramping up their preparations for Christmas. This year’s Christmas is extra special, since it is the first Christmas after COVID restrictions have been fully relaxed in the state.

Houses across Kerala are now adorned with all kinds of Christmas decorations, from stars and string lights to Christmas trees and the nativity cribs. Bakeries everywhere display a host of cakes specially prepared for Christmas, the most popular still being the traditional plum cake. Special home-made wines are also in huge demand.

Markets across Kerala are soaked in the Christmas spirit, and the crowd on the streets are much higher than the previous two years.

The ever-bustling streets of Broadway in Kochi now witness an increasing footfall from customers here for their Christmas shopping. Shops here are flooded with all kinds of Christmas décor. From the traditional paper stars and tree adornments to the latest optic fibre Christmas trees and fluorescent neon stars, Broadway is truly a Christmas shopper’s paradise. The price of decorations here range from tens to thousands.

“Although wholesale stores do not have as much business as last year, retail stores businesses seem to be booming, considering that there is almost double the crowd on the streets this year compared to last year’s”, says Renji who works at a wholesale shop in Broadway. At the same time, a wholesale shop keeper from Kollam says they have sold out most of their goods almost a week before Christmas.

For those who would like to shop for more unique Christmas decors, upscale decor shops are also available away from the bustle of the crowd, presenting customers with an array of niche decors including imported ones.

“The sale of Christmas decors begins as early as October and continues till the end of December, even after Christmas. This year’s business has been really good so far, and we even received 8-10 bloggers this year at our shop”, says the owner of Kurian Kurios, an upscale decor shop in Kochi that focuses on ceramic decors.

These upscale decor shops attract customers from outside Kerala as well, and even have online sale of decors through their websites and social media handles.

Though not as vibrant as Broadway, markets in Kozhikode are also docked up with Christmas decors for customers. The busy lanes of SM streets now also have stalls selling a variety of Christmas decors, including Santa costumes. The 180-year old CSI Cathedral situated at the Mananchira square now has a grand display of Christmas decorations all around, as the Church prepares to celebrate Christmas in all its glory this coming Sunday.

“Christmas celebrations for us is also about giving”, says Tessy from Kodungallur, “We’ve had a tradition of giving away 1kg rice and supplies to everyone who is need in our parish, and this year is also no different.” Tessy along with her two daughters have been busy shopping gifts and supplies the past week.

This year’s Christmas is very special for 70-year old Eliamma from Thiruvalla, as her two children are finally able to join her for Christmas from abroad after two years of COVID. Eliamma’s house is adorned with lights and decors, and she is excited as she wishes to ‘Happy Christmas’ to everyone around her.

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