05 December, 2008

an african Christmas.

When I started this blog it was mainly to update family and friends on what we were up to, especially those ones living far away. I never ever thought anyone else would read it, let alone leave comments. The majority of the people who read my blog {and my husbands} are from America {yay!} and we have both being getting a lot of questions about living in Africa, and especially now about Christmas in Africa. So I thought I would do a post on what we do over Christmas time...so much so for my family blog, I am now telling people across the world about our lives in Africa...how awesome is that?

Okay, so where do I start....firstly, this is how we celebrate Christmas, so I am not talking on behalf of everyone here in South Africa, but this is how my family and the majority of my friends celebrate it. And if you are from SA and you think I am talking rubbish, please tell me.

The thing is, I don't think we celebrate it that much different from anyone else. We have the tree, the turkey, the gammon, all the trimmings, church, the same carols, Santa or Father Christmas as we like to call him , the lights, reindeer, mince pies, pretty much the same. The only big difference is that it is summer here, so it's HOT. All the schools are closed, majority of the people are on their annual holiday, the sun is up till late, the beaches are crowded, restaurants are full, the malls are jam packed, it's one long holiday. It’s very festive.

I try and throw in a few African things, like some of my tree decorations are typically African, we do our turkey on the braai {BBQ}, things like that. So all in all, it's not that much different at all.
We either celebrate on Christmas eve or Christmas morning, and the day is spent going to church, eating, lying around the pool, eating some more, playing games outside, spending time with family and friends. The day after is Boxing Day {Family Day} and its pretty much the same, except we spend the day eating the leftovers from Christmas Day.

Even though it is hot, I insist on doing a proper Christmas lunch. Every year we have the same discussion {in fact we had it a few days ago}, that maybe we should do a cold Christmas lunch...I have given in this year, we are still doing the usual, but we are going to throw in a few cold salads this year.

I used to dream about having a winter, cold, snowy Christmas, and I was lucky enough to have one once. But for me, there is nothing like a Christmas in Africa, it’s awesome...you should try it some time!


Jo said...

I am about to have a white one for the first time since I was a kid.
btw when I post a comment on your blog from my computer (I am on my Mums at the moment) it bounces back so sorry if you never get comments from me.

jenn said...

I doubt we'll have a white Christmas here in Tennessee (it snows, but hardly ever sticks), but it will be cold. It would feel strange to me to celebrate Christmas when it's hot. Of course, I've threatened to take Shiloh and go somewhere warm during Christmas, so maybe it wouldn't be that weird. Christmas on the beach... Hmmm...

Hayley said...

Lucky you Joanne.

They seem to be coming through, thanks!

Hayley said...

Hey Jenn,

I know, it must sound so wierd to you Northern Hemisphere folk :-)
Yet its so normal so us. Christmas and Summer go hand-in-hand.

Unknown said...

Hayley, I think you described it accurately. Our family is a little less into the whole turkey thing though, we do a lunch, but usually just a braai (BBQ) or this year, we're really going to do the whole cold lunch thing. So for us, no turkey, otherwise, the same.

Robyn said...

Well said! I love Christmastime in Africa! Nothing like eating so much you might explode AND putting on a bikini! ha. This year I get the best of both worlds. An early celebration with the fam here then back to Atlanta...for good.
(Oh, and am also obsessed with Gossip Girl...does the fact that I find the dad completely adorable make me old?)

Hayley said...

Robyn, so with you on the Dad :-)

Just so glad you watch it.

Heather Nicole said...

wow, thats awesome.

It is very strange for me to think of spending Christmas poolside. In fact if its not cold on Christmas I get depressed!

It has been a long time since I can remember a white Christmas but I hope and pray for one every year.

Thanks for sharing that with us! I absoultly love learning about other peoples traditions whether it be from Africa or my neighbors.

God bless hayley

Emily said...

thanks for sharing... i love all your lil south african touches... that would be definitely different to be layin around the pool on christmas.. but heck we are always by the pool everyday in the summer so it would be great for my fam!

Anonymous said...

thanks hayley!
no snow in houston, but it has been cold this week :)
we'll head to maine on the 26th and spend the week, hopefully with snow there for new years. now that's your next post - how do y'all celebrate new years? do you leave your tree up until 12th night? any traditions, like our blackeyed peas for luck? and btw, what is gammon?
enjoy durban, and then give us the tourist synopsis when you get back. you make me want to visit! all i know is they have mining? i think...

Kylie said...

We spent two Christmases in Africa and aside from being far away from my family :( We loved it! We would braai with friends and swim. It was different certainly, being in the summer and all, but so very nice! I'd love to do it again soon :)
I'm also in Texas but I don't know what "leave the tree up till the 12th night" means. :)
Enjoy the beach!

Anonymous said...

Hi. This will be my 1st christmas back in SA for 10 years! Whilst I am glad to be back and loving the warm weather, swimming etc... I have to say that I just don't feel very "christmasy". (Is there such a word?) The cold, dark winters give christmas more atmosphere. I loved the lights and decorations, the chestnuts roasting, the warm turkey meal when its cold outside... but I just want that for christmas! The rest of the time it must be sunny, light and hot!
P.S: You 4 got to mention 1 south africanism that every kid in SA must have heard on christmas day: You can't swim for at least an hour after your christmas meal, or else you might drown!
Really, does anyone actually no anyone who really drowned because they went swimming to soon after their meal?? xx