When Christmas was Christmas

Remember when Christmas was a time of excitement in the household. Preparing and consuming our favourite foods and drinks! Shouting "Christmas box" at whoever came through the door! Parading our new clothes in town. Going out to celebrate at midnight on New Year's Eve. Without the snow associated wi

th Christmas in Europe and America, we in Zimbabwe had our own associations – like the Jacarandas flowering just before the season itself, the heavy rains that started in Nov and the national flower, the Flame Lily, which blooms in December. Visit the zimdays website to see more… http://www.zimdays.com/zimdays002.php Across many towns the start of the festive season was heralded by the Christmas lights across our streets; attending the school Nativity play; and listening to Carols sung by candlelight. In Harare the Christmas lights on First Street heralded the hustle and bustle of the shopping that until the 1990s was all concentrated in this one main shopping street. It is hard to remember now but throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s most shopping was carried out in town centres – usually on the ‘Main Street’. We always used to buy new clothes at this time of year. And then there were the festive meals. In the 1970s the foods we now take for granted were thought of as special Christmas ‘treats’. Those were the days when rice and chicken was really a special meal for this was the only time of year you could have a full portion as a kid. I remember my Mum used to order a dozen loaves of bread from the local shops just for Christmas. After lunch we would then take time to bath, stretch our hair with hot comb/stones and then wear our new clothes and then set off to the shops to show off. In the 1960s and 1970s Christmas meant slaughtering an ox for the celebrations. There would be enough for the whole family gathered in the rural homestead over the celebrations and a hind or quarter each to take back to the city after the event.

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