Doing the Holidays My Way

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The 2020 holiday season snuck into my life this year. Since 2015, I have struggled a bit from November – January. For the first 200 years of my life, I lived places where snow and ice falling down outside and snowmen in the yard and winter fires in the fireplace were normal. Where you could lose track of your child in the snow when she went out to play (it only happened once and she was really little.) Where frostbite happens to real people. Where, well, you get the point. Where it is cold, freezing, below freezing. But since 2015, I have enjoyed hot holidays. South Africa experiences heat for the holidays. For example, today is 15 November, and at 4:00pm it is 86 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s a hot 86!

When I start to see Christmas decorations in the stores at the end of October in South Africa, I am always surprised. It’s too hot for Santa, too hot for peppermint mocha lattes at Starbucks, too hot to cozy up beside a Christmas tree with a mystery novel and watch the snow fall gently outside. Because, you know, Southern Hemisphere. Hot Christmas. No snow. You see the problem.

In addition, Covid has my days and months turned around. After 233 days of some form of lockdown, I have lost track if it’s time to think about school supplies or if it’s time to think about Valentine Day treats.

And finally, South Africa doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday in November is simply known as Thursday in South Africa. And before we call South Africans ungrateful, remember pilgrims and Native Americans and turkey dinners and cranberry sauce with lines from the can are all more or less American traditions. Though the Canadians are similarly thankful in October.

Soooo, between hot weather, Covid and the lack of Thanksgiving decorations in stores, I was already feeling less prepared for the holidays than normal this year. And then… I was in the local Woolworth’s grocery store (Woolie’s as it’s known here) and saw YELLOW POINSETTIAS. Having never seen yellow poinsettias before in my life, I was even more knocked for a loop. Is that a thing, yellow poinsettias?!

And how does one deal with the strangeness of Thanksgiving, an American holiday, in South Africa in the middle of a pandemic with yellow poinsettias? Well, stay tuned to the next installment for full details, but I will tell you this ….

I am going to own this holiday season like no other holiday season. I will invite some of my favorite people for small celebrations (WE ARE ALLOWED TO BY LAW BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH ONE OF THE MOST STRICT LOCKDOWNS IN THE WORLD AND OUR NUMBERS ARE DECREASING.) I will decorate with garden flowers and South African protea flowers (But not yellow poinsettias. That is too much), and the biggest haul of white fairy lights in the world. I will let my daughter bake a pumpkin pie; I will pay my friend to smoke a turkey; I will mash sweet potatoes and butternut squash and put little pink and white marshmallows on top because that’s all you can find. I will make a playlist with my teenage friend EM’s song And I will be happy with doing it my way.

::::If you want helping finding your holiday way, please email Mona@Mona to discuss my holiday offer. See below for offer.

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