My favourite thing about Christmas isn’t Christmas itself. It’s about the other months that are not the Christmas month. During the holidays, I get to look back at the memories from previous months leading up to Christmas and the excitement just builds. Also, I like to look back at previous Christmasses, especially since looking back with joy helps you infuse traditions into your current celebration. So that one year or ten years from now, you’ll remember one particular Christmas where you did so-and-so things.
Here are some that are on the top of my list.
Christmas money and Christmas clothes are what Nigerian children’s dreams are made of. It’s even better if we all pick out the same fabric to use.
Going on a road trip to your hometown
From a very young age, Christmas was characterized by brown dusty roads and dry harmattan air in my father’s village. The most exciting part of the experience was the journey. I can never forget waking up at 4 am, brushing my teeth and embarking on an 8-hour trip filled with fried chicken, car sickness and peeing in the bushes. It may not sound like the ideal Christmas memory, but I oddly enjoyed it and remember those trips with nostalgia.
Making Christmas lunch together
It was always a big huge ball of mess in our kitchen when I was growing up. Everyone had a cooking task no matter how small. From cutting carrots, to mixing dough for chinchin, there was always something to do and always something spilt somewhere. It made us little ones feel very included. The “too many cooks spoil the broth” saying surely didn’t apply in our kitchen. It is one memory/tradition that I will always have and I hope to continue this with my children.
Both the new ones and the classics. I can probably say every word of the Home Alone movie because I may have watched it about 100 times! With streaming platforms like Netflix, it’s even easier to watch Christmas movies every day with your family.
Exchange secret Santa gifts
This one is kinda new in Nigerian homes but it is very rewarding to give and exciting when you don’t know where your own gift will be coming from.
Go to church together
My Christmas was never complete without Midnight mass and another mass on Christmas morning. It may seem like overdoing it, but I really cannot think about Christmas in my childhood without thinking about this.
I know a Nigerian Muslim family that cooks up a storm even though this isn’t even their own holiday, so to speak. And before they eat their own food, they give out a ton of it to beggars, homeless people and children of the underprivileged. Is there anything sweeter? Try to give to the people that are less fortunate. And make something you do together as a family.
Of course, you know you’re doing it right if you can remember the last one. Get your laughs on as you recall all the Christmases past.