As a little child living in rural Ghana, Christmas was a totally different ball game for me and my friends. I only recently came to the realization that for many years as a child, we celebrated a different kind of Christmas back then; things were different, and times were relatively simple with few complications. We didn’t have electricity and would gather under the moonlight with other children to play hide-and-seek.
Personally, as a child, I lacked a sense of time and I only realised it was Christmas when my mom would ask us to line up for our feet to be measured “against” a broomstick: she would take a long broomstick and measure it against our feet to determine our shoe sizes as most of us didn’t know our shoe size.. She would then take the broomsticks with her to the market to buy new shoes for us. Using the broomstick to measure our feet is how we know Christmas was in the air or fast approaching.
Christmas was the only time we got new shoes or clothes during the year. Although I can’t explain why our parents gave us new clothes on only Christmas day, it made us feel special and loved each time we celebrated Christmas. To us, that was an indication of how special Christmas was in our hearts.
For the girls, the dress usually came with a bag and hat to match, and if your parents were “hip”, you also got new sunglasses and a wristwatch. The clothes were usually hidden in a safe place and were only handed to us on Christmas Day. The boys each got a new pair of shoes, trousers, socks, shirt, and a wristwatch too.
For others who preferred to go strictly with local prints, they sent the prints to the local tailor to have their dresses sewn. The trick is to send your clothes on time to the tailor or you might not get it on time for the Christmas celebrations. It can be tragic when everyone is wearing their Sunday best on Christmas Day and you have been left out because the tailor didn’t finish sewing your clothes on time.
These are some of my fondest memories of Christmas as a child living in a small village with my grandmother. I hope to help my children create their own memories this coming Christmas.