If you look keenly at that corner, you will see Christmas winking at you with a sheepish smile. It’s here, people. The period you have all been waiting for to sing your Happy Birthdays to the greatest man to have ever lived, forget Hercules, or Putin, or Obama. Jesus is the real deal. Anyways, celebrations will later ensue. People will fall in saucepans of soup and jump out. Mayhem. Bliss. Delight. But Christmas celebrations have since changed. Us, old people, used to celebrate it differently, unlike all ye young folks. This is how it went down.
In the past, Christmas started on 1st December. Okay, that’s too far. It started around 18th December towards 20th. The villages held their breath. Drunkards combed the villages looking for tonto. Cannibals hunted to goats’ ass. Everyone in the village was drunk on Christmas Eve. But today, Christmas starts on 25th at 8am and ends at lunch time. No one gives a shit about it anymore. It’s just one of those days where you will go and rest your backside, dodge work and have a whole day by yourself to Tweet and make noise on Facebook.
We used to decorate, yamawe! Villages felt like a certain place in the Bible where Jesus climbed on a young donkey and moved like a boss. That place. Decorations were everywhere, by the roadside, on trees, in the air. In the house, a whole tree was uprooted and planted there as Christmas tree, with its roots and flowery leaves with a scent of Garden of Eden. We didn’t put sweets and candy on the tree. We put guavas and ripe mangoes and cassava. But nowadays? Ah, who still decorates the house? Who has the darned time to pick the littered leaves after Christmas when everyone is nursing a hangover? The house decorates itself.
We had village choirs who combed the village, door-to-door singing Christmas carols. Boney M? Who is that sausage? Well, Boney M were there, but see, we never had time for cassette and radio and stuff. The village choir was the bomb. It was like Nicki Minaj, man. Like Justin Beiber of those days. You jolted out of sleep upon hearing their dreadful voices, like a song played in the wrong key. They banged drums and sang in local dialect with lamps lighting through palms afraid that a wind might blow it off. But today, Konshens can pass as a Christmas carol. Folks are using Love You Every Day by the other guy as a Christmas carol. Or one of those irritating songs from the villages of Jamaica. Stuff has changed. No one braves the night to comb villages singing himself hoarse. Maybe, if the neighbor has a smoking hot girl, there, there, people can sing.
We loved Christmas because of the new clothes. New shoes. New Kaunda suit. No stockings. New underpants. We started looking forward for Christmas midyear, around May. If you had no new piece of cloth, then, I am sorry, you wouldn’t have celebrated Christmas with us. At least buy new stockings. Now, jazz that shit to today’s world. Damns are expensive to be given. Whether new clothes, old, skimpy, torn or rags, they celebrate Christmas. Look around church on Christmas day, it would seem like a fashion extravaganza. Not new clothes, but a horde of tattered little skimpy, skinny things.