Some people love to sketch, others enjoy painting, others like me, find immense pleasure in writing… (I wonder who else thinks that writing is addictive). Anyway, I just completed yet another writing project, so I’m sitting at my desk wondering what else I should put on paper (or in this case, screen). Suddenly, the word “Christmas” pops into my thoughts.
What are your fondest Christmas celebration memories as a child? I grew up in a city where people celebrated Christmas one of the following ways:
1.Traveling to the village for the yearly family reunion – the last time my parents planned for such a trip must have been in the late 70s. Obviously, I was too young to have any memorable recollections.
2. Going out of town for “nyama choma” (that’s Swahili for barbecue) – Dad would rather hold his own barbecues in his own style.
3. Throwing house parties – this was Dad’s area of expertise (not just at Christmas, but at Easter as well as other public holidays!) and he would invite literally anyone who was available – reminds me of Luke 14:23.
4. Working – Mom was an ICU Nurse, as a result, sometimes Christmas found her at her patients’ bedside. On the other hand, Dad – a government official, never ever worked on any holiday.
Preparing for Christmas
So the days preceding Christmas at Papa Ed’s (our house), I recall my sisters compiling the shopping list – usually on December 20th to evade the long supermarket queues that would inevitably form later. Then, before my brothers were old enough, we girls would literally go out to get a live tree – I don’t remember any Christmas where a live tree was not present in our living room. And then of course with a lot of help from Mom’s favorite cookbook (the one she received from her home economics’ high school class in the 60’s) we planned special menus from Christmas Eve through January 4th.
Our family-made custom (especially after most of us became born-again) was to stay up late and share some wonderful stories about the real meaning of Christmas. Prior to that, it was all about food and company.
Attending church on the day of Christmas was a non-negotiable in our family. Following receiving the spiritual nourishment from the place of worship, we would promptly proceed back home to wait for our guests.
Even though music (especially the melodious danceable Congolese beat) was a common feature at Papa Ed’s, it just seemed to sound better at Christmas, in view of the fact that we were surrounded by company.
Basically, there were no gifts to wrap or unwrap, save for the numerous festive cards we exchanged.
That, in a nutshell, is how I recall the Christmas season as a young girl. How do you remember your Christmas as a kid?
In my next post, I’ll share Things I Want To Teach My Children About Christmas.