Three families, three different ways to celebrate
CHRISTMAS is a time for sharing, caring and joy among families. asked three city families one simple question: How do you celebrate Christmas?
The Petersen family from Strandfontein feel Christmas should be family- orientated and believe in bringing the community together, too.
They do this by having a lavish lights display at their home, a tradition they’ve maintained for 22 years.
Trevor Petersen, who runs two businesses from home, says every inch of his front garden is filled with lights, including his bakkie parked in the driveway.
“I have a passion for it – I love it. I do it for the kids; they always ask me when I am going to put the lights on,” he said.
On Christmas morning, the family attends the service at St Francis of Assisi Anglican church in Strandfontein, before making their way home for a traditional Christmas meal of gammon, lamb, turkey and family favourite crayfish curry.
“Christmas is about the giving and not the receiving. And church is also very important,” said Petersen’s wife, Brenda.
The couple’s daughter, Kim, 21, who works for a bank, said: “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the lights. People from all over come to see them.”
Ralph Lorenz, comes from a German family, while his wife Debi was born in the UK, so they provide their daughters, Alex, 13, and Abigail, 11, with the best of both those worlds.
Debi said: “According to German tradition, Christmas is celebrated on December 24, which means the family has a traditional German feast on Christmas Eve. Then we have another feast on Christmas Day.”
Ralph said: “We mostly prepare German treats such as biscuits and cakes and dishes like gammon and sauerkraut.”
Debi said: “We like to have English dishes on Christmas Day, such as roast beef, York- shire pudding and Brussels sprouts.”
The Lorenz home is elegantly decorated with a huge, real Christmas tree, chosen and decorated by Abigail.
Debi said: “Both my husband and I had a real Christmas tree growing up, and we decided it was a tradition that we wanted to keep.”
Many homes are decorated with tinsel and lights but there are families who struggle to afford decorations. One such family is the Tyawana family from Lost City, Mitchells Plain, where the community has been severely affected by the economic downturn.
Darlina Tyawana lives in a two- bedroomed house and often has one or more of her three children, six grandchildren or two great-grandchildren staying with her.
Tyawana, affectionately known as Mama Darlina, says that she and the women in the area get together for a “gooigooi”, a form of stokvel.
She said: “Every year we put away R50 a month, so we can buy food stamps, and then at the end of the year we share the stamps with each other. But this year, because of unemployment, everyone couldn’t take part, so the gooi-gooi will not be good this year.”
She said she and her community had always benefited from sharing – even her home had been built by the community coming together.
Although times are hard, Mama Darlina, her daughter Ziyanda Tyawana and granddaughter Namaxabiso Tyawana, will be found in the kitchen preparing food for the family and community this weekend.
Mama Darlina said: “In our custom, we dish food for our neighbours and take it to them in the morning. Also, children get new clothes, then they go to every door and get small gifts.”
She had prepared gifts for visiting children and intends preparing meals using chicken, red meat and chakalaka.