What you need to know:
- Many women are typically slaving over looking like the appropriate daughter-in-law instead of getting a much-needed break from the year
- In fact, women I know simply don’t go to the village until January or February, to ignore that weighty expectation
Is it just me or does it really not feel like the Christmas season this year?
The thing is, under normal circumstances, I am not a big Christmas fan. If you know me at all in the real world, you know that every time a holiday is coming, I start rolling my eyes, because it’s about to turn into yet another display of what happens when you let capitalism ruin your lives. The fact that Jesus was born in April means nothing to anyone – in fact, Jesus’ birth is almost the last thing on anyone’s mind in the light of Santa’s newest goodies. Away in a Manger is taken over by Queen Mariah’s All I Want For Christmas, and stores and outlets go crazy trying to outdo each other with the biggest discounts and Christmas light decorations known to wallets. It’s a performance meant to get money out of your pocket, basically, duplicated two months later on Valentines. And that’s just one of my problems with the whole situation.
As a Kenyan, to be honest, my favourite part of the Christmas season is when people leave urban centres and go to pretend to see their parents and enjoy being in shags. Because for those of us staying behind, it means there’s no traffic and everywhere is accessible in 20 minutes. Many women are typically slaving over looking like the appropriate daughter-in-law instead of getting a much-needed break from the year. In fact, women I know simply don’t go to the village until January or February, to ignore that weighty expectation. As a happily single woman, I can’t escape this myself – if I do decide to go up country, I still have to do all the trappings of being a woman.
So as you can imagine, Christmas and New Year’s never really feel like reasons to celebrate, as a woman. It just looks like work. You’re cooking, or cleaning, or travelling, which is still labour, or doing more childcare because your husband is drinking with the men and you’re in charge of all the children. Or you’re panicking about how many pounds you’re putting on because you’re cooking all the time, and stressed. Or, in this our 2021 season, someone has caught a cold, or Corona, and who’s in charge of nursing everyone back to health, whether or not you’re feeling 100 percent yourself? That would be…you.
I know, I know, I sound like the Grinch. I’m not against the whole end year sigh of relief. I just wish it was less stressful and tiring for women. It almost feels like you need another holiday after the holiday. Actually, you know what a perfect Christmas would look like to me? One where, you don’t have to play pretend with your mother-in-law. One where you don’t have to answer questions about why you still don’t have children or aren’t married at the family get-togethers from well-meaning aunties whose marriages are falling apart. One where there’s a couple of actually good movies on Netflix that aren’t reruns of the last two Christmases. One where gift giving isn’t a competition and everyone gets thoughtful presents that make sense for them and their lifestyle, if gift giving is your thing. And if you’re a church person? One where you go and listen to beautiful carols in an overnight service that feels reverential, and introspective, and still fun. One where there’s a drive after for children’s homes and disadvantaged people so you can remember the true spirit of Christmas giving instead of how many city dwellers do it, which is just remembering the spirits of Christmas – gin, vodka, and tequila. When I was younger, it really did feel like we were trying to commemorate something, do something for the good of mankind. I hope we keep trying to find that ideal. If not though…get out of town and leave some space for the rest of us!
For feedback to the editor email [email protected]