Life

The Christmas I really miss

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By Henry Lubega

Posted  Sunday, December 22  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Nostalgic. Christmas traditions have changed over the years. The older generation often wish they could turn back the hands of time.

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It’s that time of the year again for me to mourn for the Christmas I miss. That natural, friendly and bonding celebration died years ago only to be replaced with a plastic and artificial Christmas. Blame it on technology science, and modernity, but I would still insist man is not a slave to the works of his hands. Science and technology, are both works of man that have led to modernity, which has instead enslaved man.

From the church services to home celebrations, Christmas has lost its celebratory charm and instead become a spending spree. If I called it the commercialisation to celebrate Christ’s birth, forgive me, but this is what it has become. As a result of commercialisation everything has become artificial. Rehearsals for Christmas carols, plays and skits at the church always set the mood.

The mood was heightened with the Christmas tree cutting; there was pride in cutting the best tree even before decoration. These have been replaced by the Chinese plastic made trees.
There is nothing natural on the present day Christmas decoration from the tree to the decorations that go with it. The cotton that used to represent the snow in the tree is replaced with either a purely white plastic tree or the factory made white snowflakes.

It’s not only the trees that have gone, but so are the decorations. The artistically cut toilet papers of different colours that used to run around the tree have been replaced with electric lights.

Buying the balloons alone was a tension-filled fun exercise where one had to pick a raffle number to determine the type of balloon one takes was not only fun but also a heart breaking moment if one picked the smallest balloon available on the chart. This has been replaced with the packed balloons from the supermarket.

Blowing them and putting them up on the tree was one activity every child in the house wanted to take part in. But the balloons have been replaced with Chinese-made coloured clay decoration balls. They are recycled year in year, out the same applies to the trees; because they cost money and they don’t easily get spoilt they can be reused. Since they are delicate, they are only handled by adults and children stop at admiring them unlike the balloons which were left mostly to the kids to blow and hung up in the natural tree.

According to Simon Njala Kaggwa, a TV journalist, Christmas has lost both the tradition and Christ in it. “The tradition of Christmas where we looked forward to special things like putting on new clothes, eating meat are all long gone, they are now everyday things. When it comes to going to church after mass it’s like any other day”.

Motivational speaker Ethan Musolini believes with modernity Christmas has had a slow but sure death. “There was a lot of anticipation and hype about Christmas, the anticipation to eat meat, putting on new clothes among other things. All these have been diluted, that special attachment we had about Christmas is long gone”.

Opening the Christmas cards was exciting, now it’s mainly institutions and organizations that give out cards all in the form of adverts. Even the few that are not from institutions are relegated to the bottom of the artificial tree because it cannot hold the cards. A simple text on the phone has replaced the card, unfortunately, since its only Mummy or daddy who may receive the message it remains with him or her and does not trickle down to the entire family it’s meant for.

Christmas season used to be looking forward to new things and doing things a new but not with the artificial stuff anymore. The size of the tree and where it’s kept is known from the day it’s folded off, the kind of decorations is known. What is there to look forward to besides the gifts which in most cases are themselves artificial.

To some extent even the foods we eat have gone artificial having to rare them for six weeks and they are ready for consumption. As a change of diet we go for something different and special, which in some cases is genetically modified.
As people build concrete jungles the natural jungle is done away with. This new jungle is devoid of fresh life in it demanding for more creativity to squeeze any drop of life out of the nature. Oh how I miss the smell of the burning natural Christmas tree on the stroke of midnight as the New Year begins.

lubegah@ug.nationmedia.com