By Delphine Brisson, Year Program from Canada, Hosted in Anand 

Canada got the title of the most Christmassy country in the world, according to a ranking by Taxi2Airport. From my perspective, the massive Christmas spirit goes on there from 1st December to the beginning of January. It was definitely something which I wanted to recreate here in India, in order to spread some more magic around me during this festive season. Spending the Christmas holidays without any oven, snow or tree was challenging, but I welcomed that part, after all, it was the most wonderful time of the year.  I started my journey with a handmade Christmas calendar to make the countdown with my host family to the most waited days. Then, I warmed them with a hot chocolate served with biscuits. Another day, I prepared chocolate fondue for them that I used to eat in the coldest nights. Time passed, but one of the key elements was missing: the Christmas tree. As an alternative, I found a wonderful Christmas bouquet in a flower shop. My dad decorated it with lights and it looked festive and amazing! The 25th came, and it could have been a day like the others because, in my family, jobs were going on, but I still put all my efforts into making it special. 

At school, I distributed gifts and sang songs with classmates. At home, after wearing a Christmas hat that I bargained on the street for 20 INR. I decorated the house with snowflakes and a Rangoli. I also attempted some pancakes, but with the gas cooking, it didn’t go as I expected. Luckily, my mom helped me. Finally, I packed the presents under the tree and we opened them all together with music in the background: a moment I will always remember. My sister told me that it was the first time she had celebrated Christmas like that. This holiday is known to bring the family together, and it’s the time to express your love and to be generous while giving. I am happy to have felt these emotions so far away from Canada, but still, I was at home. An exchange year is also about giving back, about being grateful for the incredible amount of love and knowledge you are building with others. If you are learning so much every day, who says you cannot teach.