My earliest memory of the Christmas holidays was when I was fifteen years old. Being a small family, my mum had made the Christmas-special Jollof rice just right for our family size. I remember dropping my cutlery to murder that once-a-year-big-size-chicken with both hands when the door flung open.
It was Uncle B.
I can’t categorically say which I was angrier about – That he barely knocked nor waited for a response, or that he stopped me in between devouring my chicken to lecture me, (ON CHRISTMAS DAY!) to use the fork and knife instead. Or that I had to abandon my chicken bone and join mum in the kitchen to make another round of Jollof rice for Uncle B to eat-in and also take away.
Ever since then, during the holidays – Christmas, New Year, Easter etc; we would make more than enough food just because we are sure to expect relatives, friends and even people we don’t know barge into our house.
If you are African, or better still, Nigerian, you need to know this;
Because Africa, especially Nigeria, is a communally driven society with the we-are-now-family-and-brothers-and-sisters type of culture, you are practically living life with others in mind. It’s the reason you can’t lock yourself up in the room, just because you don’t feel like talking to anyone. And it’s the reason the Aunt will take it upon herself to scold me in front of my mum because she sees me as her child. It’s the reason I would go to my cousin’s house, for Christmas holidays, as a child, and expect to be bountifully fed. It’s the reason my neighbours (plus their friends) feel entitled to partake in our Christmas rice and would give me side-eye if ‘their’ share didn’t get to them.
On Planning ahead
Since there’s nothing you can do to entirely stop the uncles and aunties with their handbags from coming almost unannounced, you can save yourself a headache if you plan. Here are a few tips to help you stay better prepared in the coming holidays.
- Cook more than usual, bearing in mind the last-minute holiday visitors.
- Have a room/spots prepared for the relatives spending the holiday at yours.
- Make sure you have more water available during this time – drinking water, bathroom water, kitchen water, as well as some just-in-case water.
- Stock your fridge or storage, albeit budget-friendly, with ready to eat nibbles like; cookies, popcorn, fruits, snacks, pastries, drinks etc.
- Get some movies ready or tune in favourite TV soaps to keep visitors entertained without needing your presence every now and then.
- Have some games ready – cards, charades, scrabble, monopoly, concentration games etc.
- Get your home theatre or portable speaker amplifying all dance jams.
With these in place, everyone is sure to enjoy the holidays!