Countdown to Christmas

Chilling in a swimming pool is an essential part of my Christmas activities.

When I think of Christmas, I think of splashing in the pool, chowing down on watermelon and catching up with family.

Throughout my childhood, my Christmases were spent on the farm with one half of the family filling the house or even camping out in the garden or going to visit Gran and Granddad in the Highveld.

After that first awkward hour or so, us cousins would be outside playing cricket, swimming, singing our hearts out in a game of ‘karaoke’ somewhere near a radio or just generally having fun and catching up together.

The adults would ensure there was plenty to eat throughout the three days everyone was together and once the girls had grown up some, we’d be roped into making salad, peeling potatoes and laying the table.

The normal Christmas fare of meat, chicken, vegetables and salads would usually be rounded off with a fabulous trifle and ice cream (a heaping bowl was a requirement for my Granddad).

Since my teenage years, I’ve helped my mom plan dozens of Christmas menus and delight in picking less traditional meals. We’ve had a paella (seafood and rice dish), cold roast and salads and even a mishmash of finger foods. But we’d always try to make trifle in some shape or form as one of the dessert items.

Gifts were also an important part of the celebrations. I grew up with the fun of waking up early on Christmas morning to open gifts. These days I love that feeling of tiptoeing into a family member’s room just after they’ve woken up to hand over a gift.

I recently drew up this year’s gifting list and am going the budget route with lots of homemade goodies. For me, Christmas gifts are a way to thank everyone for their contribution to my life throughout the year and I don’t believe you need to spend hundreds of Rands to do that.

As we head into the last month until Christmas, try to ignore the commercial craziness surrounding the holiday and focus on the spirit of the season: giving, loving and the hope we received in the form of the Ultimate Gift – Jesus Christ.

Feel free to share your Christmas memories, meal and gift ideas in the comments below or on our facebook page.

Retha Nel

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