Fake snow, a snoek braai and a little bit of Deck the Halls

Fake snow, a snoek braai and a little bit of Deck the Halls

A Country Brew

The dreaded Christmas advert. They seem to get better and better each year. Not better in a good sense, but better in a cynical, somewhat sarcastic sense where one tries to outdo the other on levels of emotive guilt-ridden tear-jerking images that bring to mind the true meaning of Christmas. After all, the true meaning of Christmas is absolutely about a giant truck delivering sugar-filled carbonated drink to every town to the ends of the earth. Isn’t it?

I project. Naturally.

It’s usually this time of year, when the leaves turn orange and gold, and the morning chill seems to tickle my earlobes in a creepy “I’m coming” kind of way that my mood seems to take on a slightly sour twinge. When my favourite plants seem to droop under the evening frost and the moss seems to form a new layer of hazardous green on my paved driveway that I walk a little slower, become a little quieter. The shops have hardly packed away the ghoulish ghosts and witches and red-eyed Halloween pumpkins, that they now laden their shelves with light-hearted, warm and fuzzy, mushy Christmas decorations of angels, snowy village scenes and twinkling lights.

My first Christmas in the UK was a magical spectacle. For the first time, Frosty the Snowman actually did make sense and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire actually were roasting on an open fire, and not on the braai. Hang on, they weren’t roasting on the braai at all. We were lying on the beach, in the sun, dribbling watermelon juice down our chins and getting suntan lotion in our eyes.

I remember observing the frosty South African Christmas vibe from a new perspective, the first time My Englishman spent Christmas in South Africa. Walking around the Somerset Mall in shorts and flops, and pointing out the fake snow on the shop windows, and the icicle lights hanging from the ceiling, I recognised the slightly ridiculous sight we portrayed to people who actually did come from a snowy Christmas. But I didn’t really care. It was my Christmas.

But now I am in the UK, and my Christmas’ are cold, and snowy, and chestnut-roasting. All that should seem beautiful in its perfection and idyll dreamed about on years of Christmas cards and dressing up games now appearing like something foreign and unfamiliar. I want that fake snow, and I want to hear Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly – while smelling the snoek baking on my dad’s braai, and my mom humming along to Dean Martin’s Let It Snow Let It Snow Let it Snow.
Of course. I still project.

For me, regardless of fake or real trees, fake or real snow, fake or real chestnuts, Christmas is so much more than a commercial excuse for credit card debt accompanied by a mad frenzy to feel satisfied and accomplished with the best Christmas lights adorning the house, and the biggest, most glittery tree. For me, Christmas is about having my mom in the next room, and Pa at the braai outside. It’s about knowing that my brothers and their families will soon be arriving, where we’ll eat until we cannot move any more, where we’ll roll ourselves into the family room, where Papa will put on the Father Christmas hat, as he always does, and with his Ho Ho ho, hands out each of our gifts, much to the delight of us all – as we polish off Ma’s frozen triangle cheesecake, that she makes every year, for Christmas.

And as many of us sit in far-away lands, many having forged new Christmas traditions and customs, and many who, like us, will be spending Orphaned Christmas with other friends and families who find themselves in similar positions, my prayer is for love and peace and happiness for you. But most of all, for a little bit of fake snow and the smell of a braai – somewhere in your Christmas season.

About the Author

Katy Roberts administrator

Katy Roberts has over 15 years's experience in helping businesses amplify their brands, build their customer bases and engage effectively with audience communities in order to build relationship for long-term business success. Having left the corporate world and now working independently since 2015, Katy continues to help local and national businesses tell their story.

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