The Holiday Gift

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There are many holidays this season, and some families celebrate all of them. In Sandhya Acharya’s home that can stimulate a child’s outsized expectations.

Come October, its festivity time at our household. Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years; the holidays come in quick succession, the more, the merrier. We bring out the diyas from the storage. Warm candles find cozy corners to nest in. The old Christmas tree is dusted off and decorated with ornaments and shining blue and golden “Merry Christmas” signs. The entrance of the house is decorated with long string lights with little flashing bulbs. They lace our garage entrance, circle our bushes, and straddle our otherwise dull roof awning. The lights are put up for Diwali and stay on till after New Year’s. Last year we left it on till after the Asian New Year in February.

Now the highlight of all these festivities for the kids happens to be the accompanying ritual of gift-giving. They have learned that their otherwise ignored wishes, in this season, can see the light of day. So requests are made, demands are voiced, and hints are dropped as they dream of endless possibilities. Slippers, beyblades, rocket ships, slime - all nestle for space in the thought clouds that hover all day over them.

Our first October celebration, Diwali, was round the corner. I thought it prudent to explain to my sons that even though we welcome celebrating all festivities, we cannot expect to receive gifts for each of them. “You will be getting one gift for Diwali in a few weeks, and that’s about it. Don’t ask me for a Christmas gift again,” I emphasized.

My five-year-old looked at me and thought for a minute. He was probably processing all the dates in his head because his eyes suddenly brightened and he asked, “Then, can I just have a gift for Rosh Hashanah?”


With a Perspective, I’m Sandhya Acharya.

Sandhya Acharya is a writer and author of children’s books.