<p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 12px; color: #666666; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 16.796875px;">A friend from Amsterdam looks forward to spending time with a South African friend that’s coming over for Christmas, drinking lots of wine to stay warm, ice skating – seeing as this is her first cold Christmas – and just soaking up as much of the Dutch culture over this time as possible.
In Dubai, Jean-Pierre can hardly wait for the office Christmas party. And as this will also be his first Dubai Christmas and most probably the only party he will get for the festive season, he looks forward to spending it with people from as many different nationalities as possible.
In Europe the prospect of a white Christmas gets South Africans giddy with delight, but after a couple of days, the snow and the cold isn’t that much fun anymore.
So if you find yourself in Rome and do not feel like doing as the Romans do, what would be the quick fire way of fighting the festive blues?
Firstly, though, what is it that you will be missing?
Food – This is actually split into different categories. The food that your mom/wife/grandma/girlfriend/partner spent weeks before to prepare, Ice cold watermelon later in the afternoon around the swimming pool and Late night leftover sarnies!
Family – Apart from your close relatives and the ones you like, there are always the ones you only actually see at Christmas time, and those which just never stop talking.
Weather – Sunshine that actually warms you up, sweltering heat! We are talking possible sunburn here! And maybe even an afternoon thundershower to cool down again if you are lucky.
So here, exclusively in SA Promo, we offer you, the reader our original guide to fighting off the longing for South Africa over Christmas.
Food – Phone back home and get some recipes. To really help with the authentic Christmas feel, play around with technology by phoning your mum up and drawing her out to shout at you, while you sneakily record it, “As ek jou weer moet waarsku om daai skaapboud te los, spandeer jy Kersfees in jou kamer met brood en water!”(That may take some work, but be creative!) Then you can play it over and over on your stereo, while you slave away in front of the hot stove. You can add to the authenticity by cranking up the thermostat all the way to make your house really warm, just like Christmas back home! For the ice cold watermelon around the swimming pool, you buy a small blow-up splash pool from your local shop, together with a watermelon. You inflate it and fill it as usual outside, and float the watermelon around from Christmas morning. Tip: Do not leave it over night, it may freeze.
Family – Go to your local clothes shop and launch a covert operation codenamed “Family reunion” to ‘acquire’ some store mannequins. If you get caught, SA Promo takes no responsibility! Then look on Facebook for photos of those loved ones you won’t be seeing, (these days EVERYONE is on Facebook) even the ones that you only ever see at Christmas. Print out their faces nice and big, and stick them onto the mannequins with Blu-Tack (Prestik). That serves a double purpose. You get to see them, but don’t have to listen to their stories of their exhilarating drive through the Karoo to get there, and there is obviously more leftovers for late-night snack attacks.
Weather – Together with cranking up the heating, you can also get a little creative on this one. Feeling warm is one thing, but the mind is a powerful thing, and if you look out the window and see that it is still raining, wet and cold, your heart will immediately freeze. So once again, print out some pictures of lovely sunshine. Like a sunlit garden, perhaps? Try to stay away from beaches or palm-trees, your mind is powerful, but won’t be that easily fooled. Then take the pictures and your trusty ball of Blu-Tack and cover the windows. Take care to print the pictures big enough for one picture to cover a whole window. Another thing, for the unlucky loser that needs to go out after lunch to get the chilled watermelon from the splash pool outside, you need to make special glasses. Normal shades, with small pictures of a sunlit scene stuck on the inside of the lens, so that will be all he sees. Tell him or her to take care not to fall into the pool, and also sign a waiver stating that if he or she does, the rest of the party can continue as if nothing ever happened.
So if you follow these plans to the letter, stumbling to the kitchen late at night to slap some cold meat on some bread won’t be that bad.