Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony @ Shangri-La's Eros Hotel, New Delhi
Last week Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel kicked off the festive season with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Everything was happy and bright right from the start even as we drove into the beautifully decorated entrance, all gleaming with red lanterns and mistletoe.
Inside, a gigantic, environment-friendly (jute) tree was on display, decorated with strawberries and presents all around. Mulled wine and Christmas cake and cookies were passed around as the children participated in a treasure hunt to find the switch that would light up the tree. Santa came by to give the children presents, and some lucky adults (like me!) got presents too! A group of children from the Super Seeds learning centre in Delhi (part of an IMPACT Delhi initiative) sang familiar Christmas carols joyously adding to the merry mood.
Now for the best part. The whole lobby area, including the reception desks were decorated magnificently in brown and white, and was made to look like a gingerbread house. Without any hope, I said aloud to my friends, “If only it was a real gingerbread house.” Executive Chef Darren Conole overheard and said, “It is real gingerbread. Go smell it.” I could not believe my ears. We all scurried off to discover to our amazement, it was indeed real gingerbread. Pieces of deep brown biscuit, held together with royal icing. There were even icicles made of royal icing. Once the children got wind of this, they couldn’t help themselves (do you blame them?) and were seen happily breaking off little corners of the gingerbread and stuffing their faces with glee. One small boy, upset that he couldn’t manage to break off a piece, decided it would make more sense to use his teeth. He grabbed a section, hanging onto it with his mouth and refused to let go, even as his horrified mother looked around tomato-red with embarrassment. All of us ‘adults’ couldn’t help ourselves either. Amidst the secret smiles, and sips of warm mulled wine, some of us quietly broke of small bits of gingerbread and tasted happiness.
And just like that, it felt like Christmas.