Written by: Joana Chemel-PICHA | Image Credit: Josiane Faubert– PICHA
How are you celebrating this year’s holidays? Where are you celebrating it? With whom are you celebrating? The holidays are different for everyone and for PICHA, Christmas means different things that are celebrated in different ways.
Here’s what Christmas looks like for Lana, PICHA’s Marketing Director (Cape Town, South Africa)
“Growing up, it was Christmas Eve that we all waited for. It was always a huge event in my family. Every year, family members would all congregate at our house and bring their presents to place under the Christmas tree. The tables would be kept full with snacks while we braaied (traditional way of barbecuing in South Africa) and swam in the pool as we waited for midnight.
When the clock hit midnight, we’d all toast with sparkling wine (the kids got grapetizer in fancy glasses and we’d pretend it wasn’t lol) and the younger kids would have to distribute all the gifts from under the tree. I had a love/hate relationship with this job because while I got to feel out all my gifts before anyone else, I’d always get pricked by the pine needles! On Christmas Day, my mother would make an enormous three course lunch menu that always left enough over to last days. Christmas has always been synonymous with family, good food and the smell of chlorine on the bricks in the hot summer air”.
From Nairobi, Guya who is PICHA’s Legal Advisor and Contributor Relationship Manager says
“For the Holidays, family gets together and cooks up a storm as everyone watches either cartoons or musicals;we end up singing all through the movie and laughing but it’s always fun. Aside from that there is decorating the house, get a few things and fill the house with colour and joy. These are the two things that are part of the activities, or should I say festivities each year.”
In Seattle- USA, PICHA’s founder Josiane shares her thoughts
“Growing up in Gabon, Christmas was different from what we see on TV. We often had many people at home. Uncles, aunts, and cousins would celebrate with us. We had a Christmas tree, a tiny fake one, and one year my mother got tired of it and started to decorate a tree we had outside in our garden. The operation required several people to put the light on this tree, but it was well worth it. Now that I am a mother living in the US, we celebrate Christmas and get a tree every year that we decorate together. On Christmas eve, we will have a meal together, and my kids would wait for Santa. Christmas day is a ‘lazy’ day where we catch up with family”.
Teshie , PICHA’s Social Media Manager also describes her Christmas in Kenya
“Christmas was a very religious day in our family. Being brought up Catholic, Christmas was one of those really important seasons that was filled with multiple Mass ceremonies and Church gatherings. To be honest, the only thing I looked forward to about Christmas was the gifts that we’d receive from our mummy Santa and the bountiful lunch we’d devour on Christmas afternoon at a fancy restaurant. I always felt like my Christmas days were dictated for me which I didn’t like until last year. For the first time I got to spend Christmas away from home, away from Kenya, in Lagos Nigeria with my best friend. We had an afternoon lunch at our friends’ house and then dressed up and went for Burna Boy’s concert that evening. It was the most fun I had ever had during Christmas. This year I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my family and coming back to my new apartment to wind down and enjoy my own company in the way that I see fit.
Business Development Manager Henry, sharing his experiences from Accra, Ghana said,
“Christmas has evolved for me when I look back over the last ten years. All the focal activities I engaged in with family such as festive shopping, Christmas dinners, beach day out and church services are no more. Adulthood has transformed Christmas for me. I no longer go to the market with my sisters to buy five sets of clothes for each of the holidays during the festive season or distinctively decorate our home with twinkle lights and an adorned Christmas tree. But one thing that is still existent, is the magical feeling that consumes me during Christmas. It’s the most beautiful time of the year and being my birth month is the icing on the cake.
This year, I want to witness the Christmas masquerade street festival in Takoradi, Western Ghana. As a kid, masquerades in colourful clothes wearing caricature masks evoked so much fear in me. I could hide under the bed for hours when I spot them coming about 1KM away. But this Christmas, I’m excited about wearing the masquerade uniform and hitting the streets of Takoradi; not to scare any kid but help them to knock out the childhood fear of masquerades. Let’s see how this goes!”
Kat, PICHA’s resident photographer in South Africa has this to share
“Christmas is celebrated in South Africa, but not in quite the same way as say, Europe or America. Our festive season is usually warm and sunny. So we choose to celebrate with a Christmas tree and some lights in and around the house, but unfortunately the Christmas sweaters stay in the closet in December (I do actually have one that I got in Germany so I bring it out mid winter for Christmas in July). Everyone has their own adopted way of celebrating because South Africa is such a mix of cultures but in my family we usually have a small turkey and gammon for mains and mince pies with cream for dessert (these are the best part of the festive season treats in my opinion).
Some big cities set up Christmas lights in town which is a good thing to do with the family or with friends in the run up to Christmas or on Christmas eve. There are usually a few streets decorated with lights so you get to drive around and marvel at their beauty. This year we won’t be having a light show in Cape Town because the government doesn’t want to draw crowds with Covid still being an issue around the world. I am not sure if Johannesburg will still be having their lights up this festive season.
People usually have a Christmas lunch on Christmas day, either with family or with friends if family lives elsewhere. Then we spend the rest of the afternoon pecking at leftovers and swimming in the pool, going to the beach or lazing in front of the TV.
You don’t have to be alone this season. 2020 has already been a tough year and the whole world has gone through a pandemic. There’s a lot of love and gifts to be shared around with family, friends and even strangers alike(don’t forget to check out our festive season collection) but just incase you are wondering how the days are going for others, we hope this gives you some warmth and a mental trip to celebrate with us all over the world. Please stay safe, wear your masks, keep your social distance but don’t forget to stay happy. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!
Signed: Team PICHA