I can recall it vividly. My mom taking us to the tailor to measure us for the Christmas clothes . For the years she bought ready made clothes, she only looked at us and knew what to buy. I used to think she was a magician but now I know it is the maternal instincts. You simply know what will fit your daughter when you see it. We hardly followed her to the market because she had her way of measuring everything. Even till now, she uses the broom stick to measure the feet of her grandchildren when she wants to treat them to a new pair of shoe.
As we grew older, we were, sometimes, given the money to do our shopping.On such occasion, I will joyfully find myself in the market to get a new dress or shoe only to change my tracks to the bookseller’s shop. “Just a book”, I will think to myself. Alas, I ended up using up almost all my money to buy books. At the end of the day, I always looked with mild envy when my cousins displayed their Christmas clothes. ” I will get a nice dress next time”, I promise myself. Still, I hardly kept my promise.
Growing up, we knew it was tradition to travel to the village for Christmas. It was that time of the year you get to see almost all your extended family members, visit relatives and be given chin-chin or clean naira notes as Christmas gifts while our mothers cook with one or more big pots for everyone. It was unheard of not to travel for Christmas until my grandmother mistook the kitchen knife for a firewood and put it in her fireplace and her children decided it was time for her to go and live with her eldest daughter. My grandmother was a major force behind the Christmas family reunion. By that time too, we were grown up enough to have a round-table conference and tell mom and dad what we felt was good for us. Trust dad, he will tell us to please ourselves but his love for the country home ,away from the bustle and noise of the city will take him away for a few days and then he will back to us again.
It didn’t matter where one spent the days between 25th December and 31, but Christmas day is the family day. It’s mom’s day of showing off her cooking skills. We were allowed to do whatever we choose after the meal and plates were washed. Some would go to watch masqueradesAdamma Ngwo masquarade
or watch the inter village football. Most times, I always coiled up with a book, after all, that was what I spent my money for a new dress on.
The trend started changing as we grew older and became independent. Sometimes now, it is difficult to get everyone together on Christmas day because of marital and career relationships. I even miss reading on Christmas days. With a family of my own , I do all the cooking and cleaning, except for holidays we spend with my parents. By the time the day ends, all I want to do is sleep. Motherhood keeps creeping in and changing things. I still look forward to the traditions, especially the cooking and not eating it part of it because by the time I am done, my nostrils has extended the aroma of the food to my tummy and made me full and I am only too happy to serve others. Now the tradition has a new twist to it because instead of only the rice and chicken and drinks, cake has been added to the menu as it is also my twins’ birthday. The kids look forward to the day now more I did at their age. How the tables have turned!