1.It could rain. Christmas lunch in, lunch out, lunch in again. There are inevitable and endless debates over where to lay the table and checking of the Google weather app. A couple of years ago we had a tropical rain storm on Christmas eve. Last year was showery. Rain showers can happen on Christmas day although this year it looks like it’s going to be sunny. Good for party hosts, not so good for farmers (who are are worried that the short rains are ‘not enough’ this year).
2. The streets are pretty much empty – until well after New Year. The entire urban population up-sticks and heads out of town at this time of year. The good news is that you can drive across the city in 20 minutes. What is normally impossible, possible. Lunch in Karen? Pop over to an art gallery in Runda? Theatre in the CBD? why not?
3. Fingers crossed, your power and water supply should be reliable this week. No guarantees but I remain hopeful that that Christmas day will be ‘scheduled maintenance’ free. Kenya Power and Lighting normally cut power at my home for at least one day per week. Rain storms often stop play entirely. I have an electric powered oven, a 7kg turkey and a large ham to cook with no Plan B.
4. Remember that imported goods cost more here, so gift buying is more expensive. Pair of sunglasses, tablet, smart phone, toys, sports equipment, clothing etc. Expect to pay 30% more. It takes some forward thinking (often a painful process in my case) but buy ahead when you travel if possible.
5. Don’t expect a ‘real’ tree. Forget sweeping up needles and the smell of pine. A bit of creative improvisation is required here. Some people use Casuarinas trees, Cypress trees, Bottlebrush trees – on friend creatively took the centre of a sisal plant, or you can choose the easy option (which I succumbed to a few years ago) – the fake tree.
6. It’s a common scenario at Christmas; fellow expats looking harried at supermarket check-outs, or beating the tourist trail of nature walks, giraffe feeding and elephant orphans. Their cars disgorge pale visitors who emerge blinking at the bright sun. If you want to meet up with friends over the festive holiday, expect swathes of visitors of all ages in tow. Families in search of some winter sun will always beat their way to the expat’s door.
Related Posts: Christmas Nativity Play – Parody, 5 Wishes for Christmas Lunch, Christmas shopping in Nairobi, It’s not all beads and kikoys, Crikey it’s Christmas