Every year I brace myself for the flood of questions from friends here about why we don't celebrate Christmas. But if I'm going to be really specific, it's more my husband and children who don't celebrate it. This is mainly due to the fact that we are poor... Actually no, I kid. It's due to their religious beliefs. I, on the other hand, I celebrate the life out of Christmas likes it's my birthday. I'm a Methodist girl through and through and Christmas for me is a time for spending stupid amounts of money on absolutely unnecessary items for people who you would rather soccer-punch in the crotch, I mean the face, but instead begrudgingly hand over that gift wrapped box and say Merry Christmas, through your thinly veiled smile.
I've come to appreciate the non-celebration of Christmas in our household, whilst all the other parents I know are running around buying presents for their children, I happily sit back and ask for a cup of tea from resident tea-maker, my 12 year old. A few friends have sympathised for my children but the gremlins don't know any different so to them it's just another day. They have more holidays then we do in the Methodist calendar anyway. You see, my family follow the Jewish calendar, but are Christians... have I confused you enough now?
My childhood memories of Christmas are filled with copious amounts of food consumed and church to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas... i.e. the birth of Christ. I tried explaining to a friend of mine here what Christmas entailed for me as a Fijian child, and all I could come up with was, well there's a church service then we have lunch, but not just any lunch, its lunch with your entire family, and that itself is a feat to be reckoned with.
My take on the Christmas holiday here in the UK is that it's been commercialised. I feel that parents are roped into the marketing strategies of big corporations to buy gifts for their children, gifts for which the novelty dies off within the first month. Then enter stage left... the fat man in the ridiculous red suit who takes all the credit for the gifts that the parents have painstakingly organised, wrapped and hidden until Christmas Eve. Parents then convince their children that it’s ok that he's breaking into our home by way of sneaking down the chimney to deliver said presents. I don't know about you but if I saw a fat man trying to come through the chimney I'd soccer-punch said fat man. We never had a Santa in Fiji when I was younger by the way, so I didn't grow up believing the fairy tale.
So what exactly do I like about the Christmas holidays? One thing and one thing only - Christmas Eve sale at the supermarkets. I wait till about 4pm on Christmas Eve then I stroll into our local Tesco’s and lo & behold, that turkey my friend bought two days before, is sitting in all its glory on the meat counter for a welcoming 1/4 of the price. I don't even like turkey but being the FOB that I am, I have two mottos in life and that is... If it's free, it's for me AND if it's a bargain it's for me... even if I don't need that jock strap, I'll get it at a bargain price for sure!
So from the Fijian Grinch in the UK - Merry Christmas and be safe!
Till next time,