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Festive season – love/hate?

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Christmas Kitten.
Photo by Eftodii Aurelia on Pexels.com

Does anybody else have a love/hate relationship with Christmas time like me?

Do you actually enjoy the maddening crowds while shopping for food and gifts? The arguments about how much to spend on said food and gifts?

As a child I used to love it. It was always a special time, my mom made sure of that. But it started changing as I grew older, and the biggest change happened after I got married.

You know – you get married, and suddenly two different worlds collide. Two ways of thinking and doing. Two different people with different ideas of how Christmas should be. Each person feels their family did it the best way, because that is all they’ve known for or all of their lives. Up to now…

How does one solve this conundrum?

It is not an easy one. We ‘solved’ it by deciding from the start – one year with my family, the next with his family. That wasn’t too bad, it actually worked quite well. But, ‘my family’ was basically only my mom, so the years I did not spend with her, I had a knot in my stomach because I knew she was alone, and the festive season lost a lot of its sparkle for me.

Start your own traditions? That’s another good idea, but then you sort of have to shun your families and the way they do things – do it on your own. And it is fun spending Christmas all together, isn’t it? So, let everybody spend the day with you, and your new way of doing things. That means two families – moms, dads, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, dogs – all congregating at your house! Do the two families get on well? Will it be fun to have all of them around you? Or are you going to stress because my sister hates your sister’s guts? And my mom cannot stand your dad – how are you going to keep them apart?

Lets talk about the cost of a big, family Christmas. Even if you have small families, mom and dad, and a sister or a brother, with their respective spouses and children, it is going to cost you big time! Of course everybody can bring something to eat so it is not all on you, but what about gifts?

I can stretch this post out for hours, because it is a very complex and very real problem with lots of facets, and it is not a modern problem caused by technology or Corona. Believe me, this one has been around for a long, long time. Ask your grandmother!

I believe every family should work this one out for themselves. Obviously there is not one solution that is going to work for everybody, and it might take a few years to figure it out. But ultimately it is once again about give and take, compromising to accommodate most of everybody’s ideas and feelings. You WILL have to give up something, somewhere along the line – accept that.

For that very reason, I will always have a very serious love/hate relationship with Christmas, because every single year, something will not be quite to my liking, and some years more so than others. C’est la vie.

Until next time, stay calm and drink lots of eggnog, if you have to. 😉

No Thanksgiving for us…

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays in the year that I actually feel has merit.

Ironic, because in South Africa we do not have Thanksgiving – in fact, I think most of the people here won’t even know what it is, might not even have heard of it. I know, right?!

So why should I think that it is an important holiday? To start off with, compared to the fluff and money-making marketing of Valentine’s day (sorry/not sorry to all the lovers out there), and even Mother’s day and Father’s day, Thanksgiving has heart, and soul, and meaning, and we are not thankful enough in our daily lives. (Yes, mothers and fathers and lovers are important people, but shouldn’t you honour and love them every day of the year? Shouldn’t you show them throughout the year what they mean to you? To do so to the nth degree one day a year really is quite meaningless and shallow.)

I think we take too many things for granted. A roof over our heads, food on the table, health, family, holidays, etc. Only when we lose those things, do we suddenly realize how privileged and blessed we were.

Even though there is some controversy regarding the day, I think it is a wonderful idea to have a day of Thanksgiving once a year, to ‘force’ people to be thankful at least one day a year. (I’ve done a bit of research, and found that although the pilgrims had much to be thankful for, to the Native Americans or Indigenous People (whatever the politically correct term is nowadays), it was quite the opposite!)

Also picked up in my ‘intensive research’ 😉 , is the interesting fact that one of the very few countries other than USA that celebrate Thanksgiving, Liberia, does so because it was brought over from America when freed slaves were settled there. (Liberia = Free Country.) They celebrate on the 1st of November.

But back to being thankful. I would have loved to have Thanksgiving ! This year I would be thankful for –

  • my health throughout the whole pandemic saga
  • my life, after an altercation with a truck at the end of May!
  • definitely very thankful that all my loved ones have so far escaped the virus too.
  • food on the table despite the fact that we’ve had serious financial setbacks because of the darn pandemic!
  • abundant rain, after we’ve had many years of drought in the area (there are still places in SA that are suffering seriously because they have not had rain for so long that their livestock is dying and they don’t have any money anymore to buy food for them. 😦 )
  • whatsapp video calls, because without them I don’t know how I would have survived two of my children living abroad
  • people in my life that I love, and I know they love me too

Maybe I’ll start my own Thanksgiving tradition here in South Africa, who knows? 😀