Chennai: Christmas gifts come in all shapes and sizes, but this time for 65-year old MR Hubert, they were in packets of mosquito repellent coils.
He will be sending nearly 15,000 packets which will be distributed to families in Kodambakkam whose homes were washed away by the floods.
"Even though we are doing it on Christmas, I was very particular that the stickers should say 'Happy New Year'. It should be very universal," said Mr Hubert, the Director of a non-profit organisation called Shabnam Resources.
This year Chennai saw a Christmas away from the pendant lights and high decibel carol services. The recent floods washed away the homes of thousands leaving people with almost nothing. However, the people of Chennai held on to the spirit of Christmas by reaching out to those in need.
Bedsheets, utensils, clothes and books seem to be on top of Santa's list of goodies this year.
Churches in the city are adorning simple decorations as most have decided to hold low-key celebrations to show their solidarity.
"A church near Sholingur had budgeted about Rs 50,000 for their celebrations and they used that up to provide relief kits. That was distributed in some places near Vyasarpadi, Madhavaram, Red Hills, some of the worst-hit," Reverend Asir Ebenezer of the Church of South India.
This year's Christmas might not glimmer with the usual colour or bustle with festivity that often are seen as the hallmark of the season but for the people of Chennai, in reaching out with love and empathy, many are finding the real spirit of Christmas.