Christmas then and now

Christmas is just around the corner. However, a lot has changed over the years in how this day is celebrated. In the 90s, days leading to December, the landscape changed to embrace decorations beckoning us to December 25. Oh, in those times, the chicken, and goats were fattened for the D-day. For the wealthy, a cow and matooke bunches were closely monitored just in case someone made away with them.

Christmas songs would fill the air as of December 1st. Then the Christmas carols would start filling the churches as of mid-Not forgetting, the whole home would get a makeover. It could have been removing cobwebs, wiping the stains that had filled the walls throughout the year, and sometimes, a coat of paint for those that had a few pennies to spare. Weeding around the compound happened and all the litter that had piled up around the compound saw the exit. Oh, it was such a joyous moment.

Third term was also a term of preparing for this celebration time? Therefore, we also worked hard to ensure that the grades were good to ensure that there was hope for a gift. Which child would imagine a Christmas without a gift?

On the business side, business was busy for their children. Yes, business boomed and every trader looked forward to that season to the point of switching businesses just to make a killing during Christmas season. It was impossible to walk through the city centre because of the human jam which was intensified by the exodus of those trying to make it to the village because it was often said that Christmas is better celebrated in the village.

Christmas Eve saw some going for midnight prayer while others prepared their ‘Christmas-best’ attires in anticipation for Christmas prayers. However, there were also those that detested the congestion of the day, thus bowed out of the day’s prayers. But one thing was true in every household; cooking started on Christmas Eve night where large saucepans holding a cocktail of food simmered on the fire until Christmas lunch.

The Christmas tree was also brought in, lending the house a cedar scent and last year’s decorations exited whichever hole had held them for the past 11 months. Decorating the tree was an amazing affair with the smallest child in the home getting lifted to place the Christmas star atop the tree. Then later in the night, the adults in the house wrapped presents and placed them under the tree.

On Christmas day, the excitement of seeing how the decorations turned out was palpable, not to mention the sight of the gifts. Skipping to lunch, it was a grand time where we all ate to the best of our ability. It was also often the only time of they year we got to take soda and the excitement was sometimes so much that some soda would find its way through our nostrils. Painful, right? Then later in the day, gifts were opened. It was such an exciting moment for those that got them and a horrendous one for those that were found undeserving.

However, all this has since changed because Christmas has lost the flavour and spice it once held.  Prices have skyrocketed, forcing many to spend the day working to earn some money to make ends meet. The celebration mood flew out of the day and feels like any other Sunday. The presents are not as commonplace as before and people prefer to stay in town then travel upcountry. Besides, with the ever-increasing transport costs, many would prefer to stay put to cut back on expenses. Looking at Christmas today and back then, I feel sorry for the fun that has been plucked out of it.

As told by Joan S