Nobody does Christmas quite like Kenyans. The festivities are quite an occasion. For the two odd weeks during which the ‘festive season proper’ occurs (keeping in mind that the carols and “Christmas sales” have been going on since November), life changes for a lot of people. For some, it means that the shops have odd, gyrating robot men encouraging them to spend money on things they didn’t need because prices have been slashed, for others it means that the boss will surprise them with a bonus, and for the lucky it means idling the hours away from some Coastal retreat somewhere, even though most of the time will be spent ‘retreating’ from the crowds of people that had exactly the same destination in mind…
Christmas is one of the very few times that Kenyans forget that money can only do so much, and they spend on all sorts of things, from gifts and clothes to liquor and parties.
Christmas in Kenya is something beyond special. Some time in the 90s, Christmas meant eating chapati, pilau and chicken, delicacies reserved for the most special of special occasions, seeing family from Lord Knows Where at specially arranged gatherings, dressing up in new clothes and showing off to anyone who cared. It was then when trees would be cut and decorated with cotton wool (tropical ‘snow’) and shiny garlands, along with lights and ‘fruits’. The whole point was to faithfully recreate the family scenes and presents that were shown on TV, while raising the holiday spirits for everyone involved.
At the core of Christmas is family. The whole point of the holidays is to get people together so that they can celebrate something shared, something of value, and to look forward to the new year.
Merry Christmas everyone, and may joy, peace and blessings be yours this festive season.