Having grown up celebrating Christmas in Africa — with the Christmas holidays falling at the height of summer — white Christmases, steaming hot Christmas dinners and all the Christmas traditions were things that came alive for me in a Dickensian novel, not in real life. We’d all be hanging around in Fourth of July attire — shorts and sandals — while we gamely tried to conjure up the Christmas spirit.
Now, it all makes sense! Hats and gloves and boots and coats and scarves are not just a fashion statement as they were in the comparatively mild African winters (in July!) but clearly a necessity. My first few northern hemisphere Christmases I still wasn’t quite in the swing of things, and friends and acquaintances were horrified that I didn’t even have a Christmas tree. Each year I get the hang of it more and more, and this year I have my first-ever garland, along with my mini Christmas tree and heavenly scented wreath. You would almost think I was to the manner born.