Christmas holidays previously came with a whole task on particularly two aspects of the season; Dress code and the art of celebrations.
In many homes, it was an opportunity to showcase an entire fashion show, shake the locals, turn heads in little-known, shabbily constructed local churches deep in the villages.
Oh yeah, it was the opportunity for parents to settle scores on whose kids were doing better or seemed to be looking like success anyway.
Parents, and of course grandparents prior to the Christmas celebrations would have been passing the word to whoever cares to listen how their children are fairing in the big city; “She works in a huge company and drives now”, “oh he joined URA, works with government and has a big house in Kampala” name all the brouhaha.
And now, as Kampala people landed at different awkward hours on Christmas eve, the general fanfare and glowing lights in the not so posh houses back home was all about the big day, how would they arrive at church or how would they make the vibe the next day.
In very interesting events, my grandmother would spend the night going through her suukas, picking one after another and forcing us to make the best choice.
Then she would retort; “Twine may come dressed like this” urging us to pick out something quite spectacular and outstanding as though we had been studying the dress code of her silent competition.
This was only the beginning of the chaos, as the next morning would be a whole performance. She would sit right in front of her favorite car; the choice is done depending on which is newer or has the most intimidating look. Previously she was more interested in which was bigger until she sat in our cousin’s NOAH and was told in church that Nuwahereza’s daughter had the best car, a Mercedes Benz sedan.
This revelation ensured that her pick is informed, and she has not gone wrong since, except for the last two years, looks like the steam has cut off.
Indeed, the previous two Christmas days have been slowly changing the trend of things including for my grandmother who treated the day with all manner of importance.
Yesterday, it took all of us so much time to convince her to sit in an available car to head for the church, which she surprisingly decided to go earlier than she always intends.
Reluctantly, she sat, and hesitantly she waved to those we bypassed, exchanging pleasantries with pity, and sympathizing with those she chose.
You could feel a certain sense of caution with how people treated themselves, you could tell that we have all come down to humanity.
While at church, the preaching was strict on sharing, the priest’s homily centered around appreciating whatever little there was and seeking to share with those that have not had the opportunity.
In his own words, the priest said: “The situation of covid has not only affected lives but has entered our pockets.”
Indeed, when you scan through the congregation, you would see people dressed simply, except for different sizes of rosaries and scapulars, people showed up in flat shoes, home wear, and anything they could throw on their bodies.
There were no huge pronouncements on offertory, there were no huge fundraising pledges, and there was not a single moment they turned to the front benches and asked families to give speeches.
It was touch and go, everyone was in church and out of it in time to go celebrate silently with families back home.
The last two Christmas celebrations, but most especially this year has shown that life is not all about the show, but it is all about the appreciation of what we can be and as I say this, I send greetings from my family.