I love Christmas. Or at least this time of the year. Just love it.
I love putting up all the lights. Even though I know the Saudis are most likely laughing all the way to the bank thanks to increase in energy use. And I am talking about my household alone. We have lights everywhere.
It takes me 40 minutes to 2 hours to switch off all the lights inside. We have the tree and all the lights that go with that. The strings of lit-up garland hanging on every single doorway or opening or staircase or shoe-rack. If there is a space – we hang, cover and light it up. And then there is the small house that looks a bit like the witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel on the big chest in the living room. Of course it lights up. And the small trees in the girls rooms. Oh, and the small tree in the kitchen. The snowman on the piano. And… and… plus… and don’t forget the… And other gadgets and thingies that light up on every table and every desk and chair in our house. We like lights. We like lights… a lot.
And don’t forget about outside… I am Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from Home Improvements when it comes to lights outside. We have a few thousand strings of lights running all along the side of our stoep outside. I balanced carefully on the railing while hooking them up and stringing them up in the cold. I had to have my nose amputated because of the exposure to the New England weather. But that is okay – I have a huge nose… It runs in the family. My nose almost looks “normal” now. Like Gérard Depardieu… Or Steve Martin in Roxanne. Anyway, it’s the one thing where a smaller size do matter…
Okay… We also have a big old Santa outside. One of those Santas that needs a little machine attached to it to blow the air into old blow-up fat Santa. It looks cool – even though I have to tie him to the railing just in case the wind blows harder than 2 mph… But hey! He’s even got a little light insight! Don’t forget the red-and-white striped candy-cane sticks that light up! Four stuck into one pot plant and four in another one in the other corner. Oh… And then my personal favorite…
The reindeer with the lights all over and everywhere – and the lit up sleigh in tow. Of course the reindeer has a bobbing head. Nodding away his approval at my display of lights.
We love lights. And we love Christmas.
You think the Saudis love me? Wait until the Chinese toy manufacturers see what’s on the shopping list. “Dad! I want that for Christmas dad! Can I have that dad?” The list gets longer and longer. And then she’ll end up playing with the empty box for days. And the older one? Not saying what we are getting her, but it will blow her away. It is something that she does not expect. Not at all.
Still in doubt on what to get my beautiful and lovely wife. Wish I could get her what she deserves but the budget doesn’t cover that. And no, I am NOT getting her John Travolta or Brad Pitt! Hang on… Maybe Angelina will adopt me. I am from Africa. More than willing to sit on her lap. Or the other way around. Mmm… A Santa outfit… Snap! Back to reality! I have an even hotter wife – so there you go Brad my boy.
I am hoping for that guitar I always wanted. No, I don’t play the guitar. But I really want to learn. I hope I’m not too old. Babe… lovie… darling… can you get that Idiot’s Guide To Playing The Guitar to go with that? This idiot WILL need that. Actually, I need the whole series. Idiot’s Guide to… Life, the Universe and Everything. That might do it.
I love Christmas. Just love it.
Yeah, yeah. I’m not going to call it the “holiday season”. We celebrate Christmas where I come from so I’ll just call it that. We don’t celebrate it to divide us. We celebrate our differences as something that defines our unity. We feel sorry for Achmat when he can’t eat during Ramadan but will share a laugh and a meal afterwards. Same with Rosh Hashanah and Diwali. We hang out together and celebrate with each other. So Christmas is my time!
But I don’t like everything about Christmas…
The damn music…
I really don’t like Christmas songs. No one will like Christmas music if the topic was anything else. Imagine the same tune but another topic. Would you buy or listen to Boney M if they didn’t play Christmas music? Every second rate singer of the 80’s brings out a new Christmas album and hope that someone will buy it. And you know your mother will. How many Christmas albums can you possibly have? We have a few… Okay babe, I won’t go into all the details. But I still don’t get why Reba McEntire sounds any better singing about Christmas when I won’t buy her “normal” music. Okay, normal might be a stretch. And what is it about Harry Connick Jr and Christmas music? Come on dude, get a life! And we have a few Christmas CD’s… We have the Christmas Concert (Not Schubert or Mozart…), The Ultimate Christmas Album (really… Bucks Effing Fizz?), A Rock’ n Roll Christmas (who the hell is Elvin Bishop?), All Time Favourite Christmas Party Megamix (I personally like Supermegamix better), Christmas With The Stars (more Harry Connick Jr… And since when is Michael Bolton a star?), Christmas Sax (hum… Angelina, I said Sax), The 3 CD’s of The Ultimate Family Christmas (Yeah! Doris Day!) and White Christmas (not by Ian Smith) to name a few. Thank God we didn’t get that Chipmunks Christmas album. Hope the girls don’t read this…
Actually, I don’t mind it that much. I don’t like it. But I love seeing my wife play it. She loves it. Just loves Christmas music. And I love watching her sing to the music and smile at the songs. Play it again Harry and Reba!
But there is one specific song that really gets to me. In the wrong way. Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?
I know they mean well. And their heart is in the right place. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions – just ask… hum… let’s leave him out of this okay? Let’s just say my mother used to say it.
There is one specific line that sticks out and gets to me. ‘And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas‘. Uh-duh. It is summer in most of Africa at Christmas time. Of course there won’t be any snow in Africa this Christmas. Or the next. No matter how many times you sing the song – there will be no snow in (most of) Africa at ANY Christmas. Especially not with Global Warming. It goes from damn hot to shit hot in Africa over Christmas thanks to Climate Change. No snow. No shit Sherlock.
It used to baffle me at Christmas time when people used to send us cards with snow scenery – snowmen, Father Christmas on his sleigh, reindeer, snowflakes falling etc. WTF? What’s that all about? We never got snow – Christmas or any other time. It never really got cold enough in winter for snow – never mind at Christmas time during the summer. It was a completely foreign concept. So when they started singing about it during Christmas it bugged me even more. Never got it. I was 30 before I saw it snow for the first time – in Europe.
But maybe it isn’t the song or my childhood memories driving my dislike Do They Know It’s Christmas? Maybe what gets to me is that more than 20 years later we still have all this shit going on in Africa. People suffering at a time when the world is indulging. Things are a little better than 20 years ago, but for the majority of Africans it is still marginal. So many of them work hours we can’t imagine and under conditions we will never survive. And they don’t bitch and moan. They just live their lives and carry on. They DO know it’s Christmas time, but just don’t see the point. It’s not much better than in 1984. Except it is now Sir Bob Geldof.
And anyway, what is it with that big fat white dude with the beard in the red tracksuit sitting in that donkey cart being dragged by a few antelope? And he is flying? In Africa? Dude… We might be from Africa but we are not stupid. I know a WMD when I see one. And a white dude flying across the sky with a load of boxes in his card… He’s going to do what? Drop it down my chimney? Get the f outa here. We don’t have chimneys in Africa. It’s too damn hot remember? Either he is dealing drugs or I am taking it. A fat white dude in a red tracksuit handing out present after he “landed” his donkey cart… Turn up the volume please. He obviously doesn’t know it never snows in Africa. But when it rains it pours…
Christmas. I love it. Because…
There’s no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime
But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you
Yep… Thank God it’s them instead of me.
And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime
Have fun. Don’t feel bad. It is time to celebrate and be happy about everything we have. Don’t worry too much about those who don’t have what you have. I am serious. Go out, buy some presents, have a feast, enjoy what you have and those around you. Forget about the worries of world for just a few days. Have a break. A Christmas break.
And then come back with a bang! Be ready to fight tooth and nail next year. Let’s make it a Christmas for all next time around. Let goodwill and peace hammer Africa into a snowy Christmas next time. Come out swinging. I know I will.
And maybe I’ll get that guitar and start singing with Bob and Bono and Bruce. Singing, “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you“. And we’ll throw our arms around the world.
Damn. I hate that song.
Note: I “stole” parts of the last bit from a previous post of mine – Do They Know It’s Christmas?