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Christmas is here once again, and the streets are buzzing with Christmas carols and people excitedly shopping in anticipation of the ‘most exciting’ day of the year. The lights, the beautiful decor and all the extra efforts put in place to create the atmosphere which usually characterizes Christmas are all visible, and of course the harmattan settling in slowly (giving a feel of ‘Christmas weather’ in Ghana).

I know this might sound very unusual and weird, but I HATE Christmas! Now, let me tell you why.

Unlike other children, growing up, I hated Christmas shopping and the preparations that came alongside the yuletide. My childhood days were spent living with my external relatives. Growing up with one’s external relations could be tiring and annoying as I had no luxury of enjoying all the comfort one would have enjoyed living with their biological parents.

The beginning of the holidays, which was a happy time for every schooling child was always the beginning of my anxiety. The week preceding Christmas day at home was a long and drudgery one with each day heavily packed with various tedious activities that I vehemently abhor.

First comes the scrubbing of all wooden domestic items including the smallest wooden item, ‘tapoli’ as well as scrubbing of all saucepans and metal buckets in the house using iron filings and lemon mixed with sand respectively. Then comes the scrubbing and mobbing of the floors, cleaning of the bathrooms, and the most annoying activities; scrubbing of all the gutters in the house and around the well (our source of water for household chores) which never ended without me sustaining bruises on my fingers.  After all these tasks have been done satisfactorily for days, Christmas shopping kicks off on the eve of Christmas.

One would wonder why shopping would be a thing of dislike. Well, shopping in my home then was not as exciting as it is in many homes today. While today shopping is made easier with almost every item available in malls and supermarkets, as well as trolleys at the disposal of every shopper, making carting of purchased items easier, I was the carter on those shopping days. I followed my aunt quietly as we perused every part of the market for all the items needed for the festive season while I carried on my head the heavy load of items heaped in a big basket.  Pricing and buying of items are sometimes punctuated by conversations with my aunt’s friends (should we come across any of them) while my head and neck suffered under the heavy heap of items in the basket. During these intermittent pauses by my aunt for conversing, I always grimaced and hauled all the insults I could at her in my mind until we are done with the shopping.

One would expect that after our journey through the nook and cranny of the market and the heap of items bought, we would charter a taxi back home. That? No! In my wildest dream, I guess. We would head straight to the taxi rank to board a loading taxi.  Though it was annoying, it was somehow consoling since this will serve as a break for my aching head and my tired neck until we got to our destination where they continued their carting job from the junction where we often alighted to our house.

Then comes the Christmas day itself; this day is fully packed. The day starts as early as 5am with the sweeping of the entire compound after which my female cousins and I would report at the kitchen where we signed in as the cooks for the entire day. The first on the list of the menu for the day was yam with garden egg stew, a meal that had continuously become breakfast every Christmas day. Right after everyone was done eating breakfast, the cooking of the big meal for the day began with the cooking of a variety of food ranging from rice to fufu. All these chores lasted for almost 5 hours. At the end of the day, one is so worn out and would have to drag herself to the bathroom to take her bath before retiring to bed. A similar circle is repeated with the New Year’s celebration.     

What then is there to enjoy about Christmas? You see why Christmas is just a day to labor for our guests to enjoy? Well, even though I am grown and live on my own now, I still feel anxious whenever Christmas approaches.

Do you have any similar experiences? Let me know why you hate Christmas or otherwise.

Despite that, Merry Christmas!

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December 19, 2018


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