I still believe in Santa: Genelia D'souza

By HT

There is something about Christmas that makes every little girl’s heart race. Dresses with frills, beautiful ballerinas, and gifts all around. But one Bandra girl had her own style statement at one time. Actor Genelia D’souza, beloved for her nonchalant style, was all grunge. “I had this
embarrassing red sweater with a huge patch of a colourful Christmas tree on it,” she smiles.

“Now that I think back, it looked pretty ridiculous, but it was my favourite and I wore it for three Christmas dinners back to back. Later of course, I started dolling up.”

Complete Family Time
Christmas has always been Genelia’s Most Favourite festival.

“You can feel the spirit of Christmas in the air,” she says.

“The city is completely lit up and the year is coming to an end. It’s almost poetic. For me it’s complete family time the tree, presents and extravagant lunch.”

When she was a kid, Genelia and her brother would prep for the big day a week before it. They’d choose their stockings, tree, get decorations together, and search frantically for gifts.

“Once the star was up, we knew Christmas was here,” she recalls. “Instantly, we’d start looking for our presents. But my mom would find new places to hide them every year!”

Ask what her favourite memory is and she almost shouts The treeee! She used to hate it, she remembers, when she couldn’t reach the top of the tree to place the star, but her brother could.

“Apart from that, everything about the tree made me happy,” says Genelia.

“Shopping for the decorations was such a task, but I loved doing it. We’d go all over the city looking for ornaments, and the tree always looked gorgeous.”

Of course no Christmas is complete without Santa Claus, but Genelia was quick to realise that the fat bearded man with a sack full of goodies was not Santa but her parents.

“I think every kid believed in Santa, I think somewhere I still do,” she says.

“But from the Santa in the books we read when we were little, we soon realised that our parents were Santa and we were okay with that too. My letters to Santa obviously worked because somehow whatever I wanted was always under the tree. I always thank my parents for that.”

We Stick To Tradition
Christmas for the family means being together and Genelia makes it a point to be home for Christmas.

“There is always such a sense of warmth, joy and celebration,” she says.

Christmas cake“Christmas lunch is the best and it’s always home cooked. Even now, we make sure we stick to traditional food. But what a feast it is!”

So does she ever step into the kitchen herself?

“I stay out of the kitchen because there probably wouldn’t be a Christmas dinner if I went in,” she laughs.

“But I do help my mother bake cakes and kalkals.”

This year too, by the time you read this, Genelia will be with her family.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world but home,” she says. “Christmas has remained the same for me because I have consciously made an effort to keep it that way. So I could be shooting anywhere in the world, but I will make sure I make it back home in time for the celebrations. I am very traditional in these matters.”

Her sense of tradition extended to Christmas Eve as well. Only once did Genelia ever attend a Christmas Eve Ball, when she was in her first year of college.

“It felt like a mixture of a fairy tale and a prom. So exciting! But I preferred to be with my family.”

Her home will be decorated with mistletoe, stars, wreaths, stockings and fairy lights.

stockings“We go all out for Christmas. We take special care while decorating and setting up our crib which is the ultimate symbol of Christmas in every Catholic home.”

It’s evident that talking about Christmas makes Genelia very happy. Her eyes light up, she gets animated, and a barrage of stories from her childhood comes rushing out.

“I can’t help it,” she says. “I just love Christmas!”

What you love to eat?
Roast chicken with stuffing and palm sauce and of course-Christmas pudding

Something you want for Christmas?
This year, like every other year I just want a fantastic Christmas dinner with my family

Something you’d like to give this year?
I spend a lot of time planning my presents. It’s all very thought out and researched so I’m not going to give out my ideas here

A Song you love listening to?
I am very traditional, so we usually bring out the old CDs with different covers and versions of carols

Where you celebrate Christmas?
At home. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else

Your Fave Christmas movie?
Home Alone

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