Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I am officially in the Christmas mood now. The stores are all pretty and decorated. Its December 12th. Wow. I close work for the year next week, some of my friends are coming into the country for the holidays parties and get togethers, christmas trees...Its christmas time. So let's go back in time with one fo the most played carols in Nigeria:

Boney M - Mary's Boy Child

Where do i start? For the longest time, it seemed that christmas carols meant playing Boney M's christmas tape/cd. Every store had the same music on. I especially remember going christmas shopping with my parents to UTC (on Oba Akran road in Ikeja) where we would buy fixings for christmas breakfast - frankfurters, bacon and stuff. We also went to see the Father Christmas in the grotto. Oh such excitement. In we went into this dark hut like place and in to see Father Christmas. He put us on his lap, said what big children we were and reached into his sack and handed over a present. oh the joy. I remember my baby sister screaming her head off all the time. I guess Father Christmas scared her. I dont remember when i began to REALLY see this for the load of crap it was. UTC's standards went down and it was just a big space with crappy stuff. Then the grotto didnt seem magical anymore. It was just a cardboard like contraption. When you got inside, there were some witchy looking ladies saying "Turn here" and it smelled musty. It was decorated with those colorful christmas lights that always had some bulbs either dead or missing. Then Father Christmas wasnt jolly. He was a man with cotton wool as a beard, a dirty ill fitting sants suit and he had red eyes. The sack of gifts was nothing more than a burlap sack and the gifts were cheap white paperbags with a plastic container and a pencil in it. What happened to all the magic? That year was the last time i was entralled by christmas and Father Christmas. My joy in the holidays was reignited the first christmas i spent in New York. Oh the snow. The lights. Rockerfella Center. The massive tree. And yes, the Santa Claus (not Father Christmas) in Macy's. I saw the cute elves and this rosy cheeked Santa and rudolph and a sleigh and gifts wrapped in wrapping paper with bows and Santa asked you what you wanted and if you had been good all year round. Forget the fact that was 17 or so. I wanted to join that queue and have a santa experience. Such joy.

Now, i am still a huge fan of christmas. Just more sedated. Okay i lie. I bought a mini christmas tree last year for my house. It seems that since the kids left, my parents just didnt bother with the huge tree we have. So i bought this cute one with silver ornaments. I made christmas lunch last year and will do so again this year. I bought presents and wrapped them all myself. Woke up at 6am on christmas morning to dash into my parents room screaming "its christmas day". Tossed their presents at them and commanded them to unwrap. I was like a maniac. And yes, i had on a new christmas ensemble. Granted it was more like new adidas joggers and a new white tshirt but still. They were new.

Boney M - remember them. With their shiny skin tight outfits and the token man with the afro. I used to think that Boney M was actually the man and the ladies were his dancers. LOL

Get into the spirit of the holidays. Sure there is a big reason we celebrate - the birth of Christ but i think we older folks (LOL) need to lighten up and become almost childlike again. Enjoy.

*If you would like this song, leave me an email address in the comments section*


LondonBuki said...

I love this post... the UTC experience is so similar to mine... one day I realised that the Father Xmases I saw had cotton wool on their faces and ill-fitting outfits!

I am yet to be dazzled by Xmas decorations - We have lights up in London (Oxford Street/Bond Street/Regent Street/etc) but I want more!!!

I remember that song! It was always on in our house during Xmas, I also remember Little Drummer Boy - Come they told me, Para pa pam pam! (can't rmbr who sang this), Zion's Daughter and more!

Merry Xmas... it is just round the corner!!!

angie said...

Yeah...wat wonderful memories we had as kids. i think i stopped going t ofather xmas wen kingway(remember that store and leventis) closed down and father xmas started giving out plastic plates..lol.
I wonder if kids in naija still feel that xmas spirit we felt then.

Daddy's Girl said...

LOL!! Father Christmas and his cotton wool beard. My childhood was different, I guess... we never did the Father Christmas thing - only our youngest had that experience. But we decorated, did the tree, and did other Christmassy things.

One of my favourite childhood memories is my mum and dad slow-dancing to Christmas carols one Christmas Eve. We had darkened the room, so it was just us, the Christmas lights, and the music (I believe it was 'White Christmas'). And my parents looked so beautiful dancing together. Magic.

We stopped decorating quite a while ago, and now we don't do much outside church and food (and sometimes, travel to the homeland - which is a whole other - and good - type of Christmas). But I still love Christmas and it still makes me happy.

Yep, Boney M's Christmas album is a Naija classic. I especially love 'Zion's Daughter'. And LondonBuki, yes, Boney M did a version of 'Little Drummer Boy' on that album. We had all Boney M's albums on vinyl - they were so flashy and colourful and they had the coolest album sleeves - one of them opened up to a huge poster-sized photo of the group.

Sheesh, this is one long comment.. sorry. Maybe I need to blog about Christmas...

The Life of a Stranger called me said...

mmmm those are the days - brings back good memories.