If like me you had a typical Nigerian childhood, Christmas didn’t feature Santa. Maybe his distant cousin, Father Christmas, with that questionable outfit that scared children rather than endeared him to them. My Christmas memories were family visiting from far and near, sometimes over 20 of us packed in our small 4 bedroom home at the time. It was the excitement in the air as our aunts arrived bearing gifts, and embracing cousins we hadn’t seen all year. It was the smell of fried chin chin and meats, and of my brother and I tiptoeing to the kitchen to have our fill of Coke and fried beef after everyone had gone to bed.
Christmas wasn’t just the 25th, it was the days leading to that day and the days after that. It was the traditions built around things that now seem trivial, but meant the world to us as kids. It was getting our clothes back from the tailor and making several trips to Baba Tailor’s shop behind the house to have the clothes amended. It was the hours spent painting our nails in preparation for Christmas Service in church, as if those nails wouldn’t be chipped by all the chopping and stirring as we prepared the day’s dishes.
The week prior to Christmas was spent on my mom’s farm, and prepping for Christmas brought respite from all the farm work. I’ll write about this farm someday, Mommy’s farm that was no respecter of age or education. It didn’t matter if you had just bagged a Master’s degree, were preparing for your wedding, or just got home from your studies abroad, if you were home in December you found yourself on that farm, no questions asked. But I digress.
The week after Christmas was an anti climax of some sort. As we ushered in the new year, dancing and singing in church, we were also reminded that soon we would be saying our goodbyes. It was off to school, or back to work, or back to whatever else we occupied ourselves with all year, till another Christmas season beckoned us home.
Now that we’ve all left the nest, it’s time to make memories for our kids, and begin new Christmas traditions. I haven’t begun any in my home, it doesn’t help that my husband carries on like it’s any other day. Every year I tell myself I’ll buy and decorate a Christmas tree but I always have a good excuse not to; this year I don’t have enough storage space to put the tree when the festivities are over. Last year I was pregnant and constantly nauseous, setting up a tree was the last thing on my mind. The year before that… I can’t remember but it was a valid excuse, honestly it was.
Whatever your Christmas traditions are, I hope you’re having a good one and beyond the traditions, I pray the Love of God fills your hearts and homes.
Lots of love,