Christmas like the Coetzee’s do it.

We never had big Christmas’s growing up. Big in family and fun but not presents. Maybe because money has always been kinda tight? Maybe because my birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas? (SUCKS having your birthday in the ‘EVERYONE is broke’ gap of the year)

Christmas to me was having the Kenyan cousins over. Vernon (oldest of the Kenyans) took us bird watching. In sewerage plants. LOL. Ok I know it sounds horrific but it wasn’t. It was fun. How many people do you know that knows the scientific name for a duck? HAH. None right?

It’s Anatidae. Knowledge dropped.

Besides for the bird watching, we have a couple of holiday traditions. As most families do I guess. I just didn’t realise how odd they were until I shared them with Oscar. 1st of December is tree day.

We have never had a real tree. Ever. It’s been the same dodgy looking plastic one for generations. On the 1st we dig out the dusty box and bend the branches into position. You know, the wire tinsel kind. Next is the daunting task of untangling the lights and finding that one stupid one that doesn’t work then draping it around the tree with the broken lights to the back. It’s a small tree, about up to my shoulders.

Once the little 70’s balls have been hung and the lights tested it is time to make our Christmas tshirts. My sister and I started doing this when I was early high school and have been doing it every year since.

You need an old thsirt. Holes in it, paint stains, whatever.

Now you grab your paints, no fabric pain? Use normal craft paint and paint a cool Christmas design on it. This makes for the coolest photos. End of the season you simply chuck it. Next year you make a new one.

(Cool Christmas family card idea)

Every year, and this started when I was broke as a church mouse, we paint our own wrapping paper. This gets SUPER messy REALLY quickly end somehow always results in me having a face with a hand print on it.

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Simply paint over the classifieds section of the paper (has less dark pictures) with Christmassy designs.  Get the kids to join in and lay them out to dry. This ends up being a full afternoon of fun for us.

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Every year my mum buys us all the same gift. A Calendar for the coming year. When we were younger it was kinda lame. But now its a must. I love it. I haven’t EVER bought my own calendar. Thanks mum, keep ‘em coming 😉

Christmas eve we wait until sundown before doing gifts. Grown ups don’t really do gifts other than mums calendars or a bag of sweeties. One year my sister wrapped a brick up with my name on it. I actually kept it. (yes the same sister who threw a hand mixer at me)

Gifts are for the kiddies. By 6 o’clock they are SO EXCITED they are ready to burst into little piles of ripped up wrapping paper.

We don’t do fancy meals on Christmas eve. We mostly braai and eat trifle.

Christmas day we go to church with mum. Even if I haven’t been there since the previous Christmas we go for mum. (We spend Easter with Oscars family and therefore it’s a Catholic Easter and Mass.)

At Church you see some old familiar faces from school and marvel at how little they have changed.

After church lunch happens and Christmas stockings. They always, no matter of your age, have a KinderJoy egg inside them. Lunch is always amazing. Gammon or Lamb roast with the crispiest baked potatoes and veg smothered in cheese. We eat, we nap, we get up and eat again, then clean.

I love going home for Christmas. I love spending it with my mum and sister and hope somewhere in the near future my brother can come home and complete the set. We came in three after all.



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