Without a doubt, I belong to those for whom christmas is their favourite season. In our home, we are trying to create traditions as we endeavour to focus-on-the-reason-for-this-season. Well you want to know why? it is because of the seeds that were sown in me at an early age.
Being born and breed in Africa in the early 80’s and 90’s the manner in which we celebrated is very different from what children today are accustomed to.
The other day as I lay in bed eagerly waiting for the time to fly so we would go pick up my niece and nephew who are visiting for christmas, I found myself reflecting on christmas when I was their age and the “christmas joy I once had as a girl”.
Who is Santa Claus?
Although we heard about and actually saw Santa Claus he never came down our chimneys to deliver any presents. In our home, my father always bought a present for the whole family to enjoy as opposed to individual gifts. The rationale for this of course had to do with economic reasons.
I vividly recall the year we finally got a coloured television!! The excitement caused us to stay awake if only to finally discover that the news anchor’s tie was coloured and not black and white as we had always known it to be. What I would call presents were the new clothes and shoes we wore to church that morning. This was after partaking a sumptuous breakfast packed with goodies we would have baked the days before. Guess what else was on the menu cereal and hot chocolate! Yes we had to wait for special occasions to enjoy a bowl of cereal and hot chocolate.
The eucalyptus smell that filled our home during the season came from the christmas tree which was always fresh not out of desire but that is what was available for us. The idea of artificial trees and ornaments was foreign. Instead we made our own decorations often out of wrappings from the sweets and chocolates my father brought from his foreign trips. The exchange of cards was at times way too much. My father was a public servant and therefore, we got cards from almost all the ministries and foreign offices. We listened to christmas music all month-long because this is what my father liked and still does decades later.
I am thankful to God for his provisions since our children can have cereal and hot chocolate anytime they wish, plus stockings waiting for santa to fill and individual presents under the tree. Needless to state however, I would not change anything about those years. I am indeed grateful because, it is such experiences that have made me the wife and mother I am today. My mother always and still does express her love through food. It is because of what I learned at her feet that I am now creating traditions in my home which hopefully our children will one day write about.
My mother always made a turkey with a vegetable stuffing inside the bird. However in 2011 an American friend invited us for a meal and she served stuffing. I inquired what the delicious dish was and learnt it was stuffing made outside the bird. You guessed right I looked up a recipe since I wanted to make this dish. I would only be able to do so in 2015 after we arrived in Abidjan and finally I could get most of the ingredients. My philosophy with recipes is if I can get between 80 – 90% of the ingredients I will try it out. I mean in Africa if you aim for 100% you will miss out on making so many things!!! This year I am looking forward to a christmas where again our home will be filled with love and laughter and yes a sausage, apple, cranberry stuffing made outside the bird.
Over to you my friend what memories do you have of christmas? Please share in the comments section below.