Merry Christmas dear friends!!
There is something about this time of the year that invokes and rekindles warm childhood memories.
As a child, Christmas was a holiday we looked forward to with great expectation. At the end of the year, we would have Christmas Parties, and Father Christmas would come around to bring us gifts at school.
I always shook my head, because these men did not look anything like what I imagined Santa Claus should look like. I had the experience of seeing Santa Claus in a Mall in California when I was 7. So maybe that tainted my future experiences. But I knew my Father was the real Santa. He had the beard and the sense of humour to be one. Thus, the most fun we had was at home with family and friends.
As I look back as an adult, I am thankful for the Christmas traditions my parents established for us as a nuclear unit.
Growing up in Akure, Ondo State every Christmas, my parents painstakingly decided to decorate the house. Every few years my Papa would paint the house and give it a new coat of colour. My mother would bring out the unique trinkets and items my Dad acquired in his travels, and of course, the Nativity set would be placed by her in a central position and a place of Honor.
Then a few days before Christmas the stockings would appear hanging somewhere in the living room. As a child, I loved to spend time in the kitchen, watching my Mama put the finishing touches to the cakes she was about to put in the oven. To be honest, I was interested in the remaining better mix stuck at the bottom of the bowl.
When the cakes were ready and cooled down, Mama would send us to give some to our family friends who lived on our street or nearby.
Another tradition we had was to visit my Paternal home town, Asaba a few days after Christmas. We would pile in our blue Toyota van and make the journey home. One of the things Mama made sure to pack was one of the cakes she had baked.
Of course, when we moved to Zambia when I was 14, some traditions changed and new ones we’re added. We now actually had the enormous Natural Christmas tree to decorate with ornaments. This time there was a fireplace in the house and ample more space to hang our Christmas stockings.
We also now had an allowance that we could use to buy gifts for others. We had moved from the stage of just expecting gifts. We were now getting gifts for others. That was something I found fun, trying to figure out what to get for each person.
While we used to travel back home to Asaba nearly every Christmas when we lived in Nigeria. When we moved outside the country, my Father ensured we went on holiday safaris to places like Livingstone, Zambia and later on the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Sedona, Arizona.
So even though I did not travel this Christmas and I only physically saw one member of my immediate family, I am still grateful. I am thankful for the technology that allows me to have a zoom conference with my family. I appreciate having a loving extended family to spend time with, and I cherish the rich memories I have of Christmas past.