Friday 30 December 2011

Our first Christmas in South Africa

Too much food.

It’s that time of year where we over eat for a few days, maybe a week. But I’ve been over eating for the past month. I’ve put on weight; I feel bloated and have been suffering with indigestion.
We eat so differently here in South Africa, Hubby has always loved cooking and is very good at it. I’ve not been bad at it but with working full time I would more often open a packet of chicken Kiev’s with mash than cook a meal from scratch. Well that all stopped when we moved here and I’ve not bought a single thing from the freezer or anything in a box with ‘Ready Meal’ on it since we’ve moved here. *ice cream, peas and pizza bases excluded.
We buy far less junk food, crisps, biscuits, chocolate due to the price, individual bars the same as UK but we’d always pick up the offers, buying far more food/snacks than we needed and we’d eat them. There is less snacking between meals also.

No DFS adverts here

There was snow in the UK two weeks ago; it was dark by 4pm the lights on the houses were on, the shops full of Christmas goods, people filling their trolleys, carols, Noddy Holder and generally a feeling of Christmas. But I arrived home to South Africa 5 days ago, it was 30c, we were in the pool, the air conditioning is on and I feel Christmas has been and gone.
But they do have Christmas here, it’s a question I’ve been asked and ‘why not? why wouldn’t they have Christmas?’
Yes there are lights on houses, there is Christmas music in the shops, the tree is up, presents underneath, cards on the wall and the sun is shining and that’s odd. The shops are quieter, there is less panicking, haven’t seen a single Christmas advert on the TV, ‘your child will be unhappy unless they have this......’ far less pressure, far less commercialism and not one ruddy DFS advert.
I asked don twitter if there were any Christmas traditions I could observe and everyone said ‘no, not really’ but I’ve since discovered most people seem to have their turkey on Christmas eve and then a less formal lunch on the day itself of salads, cold meats etc, this is due more to the heat than anything else and I may regret my decision to cook a full roast by the time the sun comes up.
The decorations are the same here, tinsel, baubles, fairy lights, snow scenes. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t different, but I hadn’t really considered what Christmas was like, how it went here. I asked ‘why the snow scenes? Why the same as the north?’ the general reply? ‘Santa is from the north and it snows there so we honour that tradition’
So I’ve hung elephant and zebra on my tree to give it that South Africa feel.

Post Christmas

Well there isn’t one, not in the way I’m used to in the UK, shops on reduced hours, but then that happens often, certain places close early on a Saturday and many places aren’t open on a Sunday.
There are no obvious sales, by Wednesday the shops were empty of Christmas stuff, decorations, cards, food etc...a few shops had some Santa chocolate on sale but that was it.

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