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Remembering Christmas When I Was a Kid

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This is my first Christmas as a mom. No doubt I’m quite excited, and grateful to God for bestowing me this blessing.

And, it’s got me remembering my Christmas’s as a young girl.

Christmas when I was a kid used to begin quite early. About a week before 25th, I remember my two brothers and I would humbly approach my mum and ask her for permission to decorate the house with ‘Christmas decorations’. Ofcourse, being the youngest, I used to be the one to do the actual asking. And when permission was granted, my brothers would happily scamper outside on a scavenge mission for Christmas trees –which meant haphazardly pruning down neighbors overgrown fig trees. Then we would decorate the tree with those mushaino shainos, balloons, Christmas tree lights and Christmas cards the family had received. We would then hang the paper decorations and baloons all around the sitting room wall (but careful not to interfere with mum’s money-maker plant located at the corner of the house (every house had those ones, right?).

And all week long, we would feel so good waiting for the actual day. I donno about you, but we would find it very difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve as the excitement would be all too much. On Christmas Eve, mum would allow us to sleep at whatever time our weary little bodies would shut down. We would spend it beating stories, singing Christmas carols and marvelling at the (now half withered) Christmas tree.

Christmas carols

Then come Christmas morning -a day that I always thought would never arrive! Especially because it meant that I would get to wear my new dress. Oh the anticipated joy! And it was always a dress that my mum had sewn for me. For some reason, she never preferred to buy me a
ready-made dress, but instead she always chose to personally tailor one for me. She would begin taking my measurements weeks before Christmas, and then during her off days from work, patiently sew it piece by piece. My most memorable dress was a polka dotted blue dress she made for me. I always wondered why she would spend all that time sewing a dress while it was so much easier to buy one. But now I think I do. Taking time to personally stitch something for your child is so precious. During my free moments as a mom, I’ll be knitting cardigans for Kitty –even if it’ll take me a year to complete one.

And as we prepared for church on Christmas day, mum would play Jim Reeve’s songs on the radio, and we would sing along making the Christmas spirit all so nice. And then the family would walk to church. Dad, mum, sister, two brothers and I. I remember the feeling of
walking around in a new dress all too well. The walk to church always made me feel like a little princess, more so because my mum would have held up my hair in a ponytail (with a new hairband), then added onto my ears white clip-on plastic earrings (oh yes!). On that day, she would also have allowed me to use her sophisticated body lotion, Lady Gay. Now add on the white pumps, and I felt indomitable as I sashayed my way into St. Phillips ACK Church Jericho.

Once inside the church, the Waweru  brood would sit at around the fourth or fifth pew from the front. It’s as though families had ‘specific’ seating spots. Ours was the fourth or fifth row, right behind the Otiende’s.

Upon our return home, mum would prepare a sumptuous meal of pilau, chapatis and kuku kienyeji and other delicacies.

After lunch, my brothers and I would then jitokelezea outside alongside other neighborhood kids, me with every intent of displaying my new dresses to them, and they in turn with the same exact specific intent as mine. The boys never bothered about new clothes as they were more focused on playing the football game of  ‘one touch’.

And as the sun set, none of us ever wanted to believe the day was over. The one day we had been looking forward to all year was gone –just like that.

Anyway, that was how Christmas was marked as a kid. But today I’m all growned up and it’s my time to start making Christmas memorable for my family, and specifically Kitty. So what will I do for Kitty on this his first Christmas? I’m still trying to think.

And as I do so, I wish you a merry Christmas and a blessed 2012.

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Awwwww!
    You have brought so many memories back with this post,dresses,chapatis,sodas and going to shags.
    Christmas was the one day in a year every child(back then)lived for.

    As a mum it is now time to create memories for my two munchkins.

    I am also getting some knitting needles,crochet and a sewing machine…time to make dresses ,scarves and other things that may or may never be worn for them.

    Happy holidays Maryanne ,kitty and daddy!
    Your blog has made my year a wonderful one.

  2. OMG I love your walk down memory lane! Those were the days: my mum & I (plus whichever cousins were living with us at the time) would hang all those shiny shiny things on the ceilings THEN I’d get to pull out all the cards from previous years and hang them on the shiny shiny things. Christmas morning was a huge breakfast of weetabix/cornflakes/golden morn + 2 sausages + eggs if you wanted + tea/cocoa/milo whatever. Of course the best part was getting to wear those new outfits and girl lemme tell you, I was untouchable in my white & pink pumps. One year I got pink stockings too. Pink stockings!!! I thought I’d levitate off the ground; it was proof that I was no longer a girl but a lady. Hmmm…..thanks for the memories and all the best as you create some for your little one(s) Merry Christmas and a happy New Year 🙂

  3. @Santina yes I remember shagz too, and how us guys would slide down muddy slopes, run after shosho’s chickens and climb luguad trees:-) Merry Christmas to you too and your family, and thanks for always reading Mummy Tales.

  4. @Maggie -pink stockings?? Lol, I woulda loved to see you then. And yes, I remember golden morn -wao, had totally forgotten that one. And then there was also the coveted tree top juice. Oh, how I loved my childhood. I hope today’s kids will also have memorable memories. Merry Christmas to you too Maggie and a happy new year. Cheers.

  5. There is a christmas my dad called a photographer to take photos of us.. with clothes he had bought for us from Japan… and he put a sheet on the gate to create a background… and on this christmas day i remembered this day n i cried… mostly coz i didnt go out of my way to make that day special for m little one… and i made a decision to make christmas special for her from the next one… thanks for this maryanne…

  6. @Miss Babes woiye you brought a tear to my eye…don’t worry though, just as you’ve resolved, there’s Christmas this year and I’m sure you’ll make it special for Renee. You’re a good event planner and you know how to organize them good bashes so I’m sure Renee will have such a blast this year and all other Christmas’s.

  7. Yes, reading this afew days late…but ohhh, the memories!! Golden morn – hurrah hurrah!! My hubby’s hip and with-it 20 year old nieces always tell me how shady I am, but, every Christmas for the last 3 years I’ve put up those Christmas decorations for our little Bear and done up the tree…oh how he loves it. So until he says “Mum, you are sooooo lame!!’, this will be part of our Christmas thing, with goodies left out for ‘Father Christmas’ on Christmas eve (which ofcourse hubby has to wake up and eat at 1am) and gifts and stories of how Santa will come while Bear is sleeping etc etc….God bless us all as we await the next one to make it special for our families 🙂

  8. @Emma, the Christmas decorations and xmas tree are some of those memories that just never leave your mind so I’m sure your little Bear will pardon you for being ‘sooooo lame’:-). Can’t wait to start putting them up for Kitty too.

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