Christmas

There are many things that get children excited during Christmas and one of them is the sight of Father Christmas. If I were ?Mother Christmas? I will make children in Ghana more excited and get them to look forward to a unique celebration every year.

ChristmasFather Christmas typically has been a male figure for ages and children all over adore him for his unique appearance, stature, his funny features and most importantly because of the gifts he dishes out at Christmas.
I remember my first encounter with Father Christmas. It was back in the 70?s when the Kingsway shop was operating. I went there with a neighbor who used to take me to all the beautiful places in Accra. Sister Achere, was one of the children of our Landlady at Tudu.

She was an enterprising young woman who though very reserved took delight in supporting church and social activities. She also had good shopping skills and gave me an early bargaining technique. On of the days she took me out on her usual outing and we ended up at the Kingsway building. What I saw marveled me.
One of the spots in the building had a mini ?Disneyland? where kids could have fun whilst parents went shopping. This included a miniature forest with the sound of different animals in the forest. It also had an inbuilt train in which kids could sit in and go for a ride. After the train ride, I got to see Father Christmas. After that, all my sisters took their turn and we spent days and nights describing the experience.

What happened to that exciting children?s place? Your guess is as good as mine.
As young as I am I have fond memories of the days when children in the community would wear their hats and would go round giving and receiving gifts. Where are all the clowns and masquerades (emas or kaakamotobi) we used to see? They were quite a scary group, but it was always fun to see them around.
What happened to the social networking that used to go on during Christmas when people will wake up in the morning to greet their neighbors to wish them well?

What has caused the disappearance of these practices?
Today I cannot put my finger on exactly what Christmas in Accra is all about and I wonder where people take their children? Christmas in the city has now become a scramble for goods and the consumption of fatty foods and drinks for many people. We cannot go on like this forever.
Apart from bringing back some of the traditional ways we used to celebrate Christmas, I think we also need to create our own unique celebration. This is why the creation of Mother Christmas would be such a great alternative to the existing Father Christmas.
I believe that Ghanaians should be able to create a Christmas figure which will become unique to this country and which will eventually grow to be associated with us. After all, the Father Christmas model was the figment of someone?s imagination.
Let me now refer to what has been captured as being the beginning of the creation of the Father Christmas image.
In a poem written by Clement C Moore in 1822 as a Christmas present to his children, he said?
He was dressed in all fur from his head to toe
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot
A bundle of toys he flung on his back
And he looked like a peddler just opening his sack
?. And the beard on his chin was as white as snow
???..He was chubby and plump? a right jolly old elf
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
Indeed it has been said ?we owe much to what we know about the Father Christmas today to the Americans of the 19th Century?.

If through the poem of Clement Moore we have a whole concept, image, a worldwide brand and an entire industry, why can?t we create a concept that will be uniquely Ghanaian or African?
Having a ?Mother Christmas? will not be a bad idea at all. After all Christmas is enjoyed and hailed in Ghana more by children and wherever there are children, mothers cannot be taken out.

We all recall how Grace Omaboe held children spell bound with her interesting and captivating stories in the program, by the Fireside. When I remember her story-telling abilities, her dances, her costume and her sensational Ghanaian dances I get excited thinking about a ?Mother Christmas? that is uniquely African.
We don?t have snow in Ghana, but we sing about it every day so creating something uniquely Ghanaian will help us create a distinct identity that is suitable for the continent. Through this, we can create a whole industry out of it ? Clothing, Music, dance, and tourism.

If we describe this country as ?Mother Ghana? and not ?Father Ghana? and define Africa as ?Mother Africa? and not ?Father Africa? I cannot imagine why we cannot have a ?Mother Christmas? instead of ?Father Christmas?. Can you imagine how she would look like and wouldn?t it be more exciting?
I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year.

Source: Georgina A. Fiagbenu

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