Christmas on El Dorado Farm in South Africa!
It’s summer holiday time here so imagine having Christmas in the middle of July in Ireland – during a heatwave!! Rod misses the tins of celebration sweets that fill up Irish households during this time of the year, I miss Christmas shopping with my Dad.....
So we’ve accepted that it’s different here in lots of ways, and Christmas time is no exception. However, we want to give our boys as much excitement and joy as I remember growing up in Ireland, especially at Christmas. Already jack is asking when we are going to put up our tree – which is a species of a Mexican Aloe. There are many on the farm and we’ll probably spend an afternoon soon choosing which will look the best in our living room!
Over the past few months there have been many editions of the letter to Santa – first one posted in June!! It has now been refined and Santa will have to get his act together and do some online shopping before it’s too late. Online shopping has made living in the ‘Platteland’ (rural SA) much more enjoyable!!!
There’s always a debate whether to eat a cold or a hot meal on the 25th- but given that I normally hosting the day, I opt for the traditional turkey and ham. Our Turkey last year was an import from Co. Antrim!! In the land of beef and sheep farmers it’s a challenge to find someone rearing turkeys – they are definitely not the ‘bird’ of choice in this part of the world!
Many South Africans head to the coastal areas for their summer break, we will be staying on the farm to ensure smooth running of operations here. It’s rare to hear Christmas tunes playing on the radio or see festive movies on the T.V. and there hasn’t been any Christmas parties!!!
On the evening of the 24th December we will attend the Christmas carol service and evening mass in the Catholic cathedral, in a congregation consisting predominantly of aged nuns – a couple of whom come from Ireland. There’s always something heart-warming about embracing 89yr old Sr. Angelica on Christmas Eve, who, even after 60+ years serving the poor of Southern Africa, still has a strong Irish accent!! I’ve no doubt that she, just as I, would love to be back in her mother’s kitchen for that one evening, to relish the smells of Christmas pudding boiling and glazed ham ….to watch the flicker of the candle in the window….for somehow, despite however much we try it never really feels ‘christmasy’ when there’s a clear blue sky and you’re wondering what sun dress to wear!!!!